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Cablegate: Croatia Takes Regional Role in Avian Influenza, Begins

VZCZCXYZ0029
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #1332 3071455
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031455Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6876
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RHEFAFM/DIRAFMIC FT DETRICK MD
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA WASHDC

UNCLAS ZAGREB 001332

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DS/DSS, DS/IP, M/MED/JCTRIPLETT
FAS/CMP/DLP WETZEL AND MAGGINNIS
FAS/ITP/EAMED POMEROY AND FLEMING
CA/OCS/ACS KIM CHRISTMAN
USAID FOR E&E/ECA/B/ANNE CONVERY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO SENV ECON EAGR PREL CASC KFLU HR
SUBJECT: CROATIA TAKES REGIONAL ROLE IN AVIAN INFLUENZA, BEGINS
ACTIVE MONITORING

REF: 001241 and previous

1. SUMMARY: Although there have been no new incidents of the H5N1
virus in Croatia, the country's designated avian influenza lab has
begun active monitoring of wild birds as well as testing poultry
suppliers on request. The director of the Poultry Center at the
Croatian Veterinary Institute said he also is initiating
collaborative testing among 10 countries in southeastern Europe and
plans to start a regional information-sharing network. END SUMMARY

2. Dr. Vladimir Savic, Poultry Center director, told Econoffs that
the lab began active monitoring of birds in their habitats on Oct.
21. Dr. Savic said Puris, a domestic poultry supplier, requested
that the lab test its poultry. Puris is one of the suppliers to
Metro, a German supermarket chain that now requires all of its
suppliers to test their poultry. Dr. Savic said he expects to be
contacted by other poultry farms in Croatia and that other
supermarket chains will follow suit.

3. Under Dr. Savic's direction, the Poultry Center also is
initiating a "ring test." Designated labs in several other countries
will test the same samples to ensure they are using equal standards
in identifying H5N1 virus. The ring test will be announced in
November and will be conducted in January. He said already Bosnia,
Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Hungary and
Poland have agreed to participate. Dr. Savic said a ring test is one
of the requirements for International Standardization Organization
(ISO) certification of the lab. Dr. Savic also is working on
establishing an information-sharing network to directly connect labs
in the region. He said this will enable him to receive information
immediately from his counterparts in other countries instead of
waiting for information to be released by one of the international
organizations.

5. Although there is no specific reason to believe bird flu will
resurface in Croatia, he said the virus is still a concern in the
region and Croatia will continue in its proactive role. Unusually
warm weather has delayed bird migration this year, Dr. Savic said.

BRADTKE

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