As Turkey battles to control its outbreak of bird flu, the EU has called for agreater exchange of information on the disease among countries in the region. At least three people in Turkey have died from the H5N1 strain of the virus and 18 others have been infected.
EU experts have urged greater vigilance but do not believe additional extreme measures are required. Hundreds of thousands of birds have been culled across Turkey and quarantine zones have been set up in some areas. Several countries bordering Turkey have taken steps to prevent bird flu spreading into their territories. British scientists say they have found a mutation of the virus in samples taken from one of the Turkish victims. Although that could in theory make the disease spread more easily from birds to humans, experts have stressed there is no significant increase in the risk of a global pandemic. But the EU remains on alert. The European Commission is expected today to make a statement about financial aid to countries around the world trying to contain outbreaks. In one example of precautions being taken in western Europe, the Netherlands is said to be considering plans to vaccinate its huge poultry population. The World Bank has endorsed the spending of some 400 million euros to help the worst affected states. An international donors conference will take place in Beijing next week at which more aid is expected to be pledged.