The bird flu threat in Turkey is having broad repercussions across Europe and the middle east.
The Germans are considering re-imposing a ban on keeping poultry indoors, while at airports and border crossings they are stepping up searches for poultry products. “To give you the latest figures, we confiscated more than three tonnes of food at Munich airport in the last quarter,” said a spokesman. “It’s very important to avoid bird flu being brought into Germany.” The European Union has imposed a ban on imports of untreated feathers and poultry products from six countries bordering Turkey, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Georgia and Syria. Ukraine has found bird flu at three farms in the Crimea. Georgia has imposed its own embargo, while a senior veterinarian in Bulgaria said they were preparing “as if for war.” In Moscow there is the same kind thinking, with President Vladimir Putin asking his prime minister to prepare a plan to prevent bird flu spreading in Russia. With so many of the country’s neighbours already working to contain outbreaks he said everything possible must be done at markets and border crossings. Meanwhile in Japan up to 77 people have been infected with the milder H5N2 strain of the virus. Most of the those involved are chicken farm workers. Worldwide at least 76 people have died from the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu since 2003.