EU health ministers, holding an emergency meeting in the UK, have stressed that the risk bird flu poses to the general population in Europe is very low.
They adpoted fresh measures to fight the spread of the disease, including banning live birds from markets and shows without specific permission. British Health Minister Patricia Hewitt said all EU countries must take action. “The WHO confirmed that there had been no increase in the level of risk for pandemic flu but of course we need to ensure that we are properly prepared in each of our countries,” she said. Two hundred kilometres south of Moscow smoke from pyres fills the air. A mass cull of chickens, ducks and geese is underway after the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus was discovered there. A quarantine cordon has been set up around the zone for the next 21 days. Residents are despairing at the mass killing, saying that their livelihoods will disappear with the birds. H5N1 has been found in Turkey and Romania.