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Avian Influenza in Romania and Turkey: EU action

Canberra, 14 October 2005


Avian Influenza in Romania and Turkey: EU takes further action

The European Commission is taking further action following the confirmation last night of the presence of Avian Influenza (AI) in neighbouring countries, Turkey and Romania. The AI H5 virus has been confirmed in Romania, with results from the European Union Laboratory indicating that the AI virus discovered in Turkey is H5N1 and closely related to a virus detected in a wild bird in central Asia some months ago.

The Commission has decided to ban imports of live birds, poultry meat and other poultry products from Romania. The latest tests by EU experts identified the presence of AI. Three EU laboratory experts sent to Romania by the Commission last Monday confirmed that the Avian Influenza virus H5 was detected in tests on two samples from a chicken and a duck taken from a backyard farm in the Danube delta.

Imports of live birds and feathers from Turkey have been banned since Monday 10 October following the discovery there of the AI virus.

EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, has also announced further action.

A Commission plan for preventive measures and increased bio-security (hygiene), has been presented to the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. The 25 EU Member States have committed to taking appropriate measures to reduce the transmission risk of Avian Influenza, and this will include the strengthening of bio-security in poultry farms across the EU, particularly in high-risk areas.

An emergency meeting of experts on avian influenza and migratory birds will be held in Brussels today. The purpose of the meeting is to evaluate the risk that migratory birds may pose for the EU. The experts’ group will then issue recommendations on the potential risk for humans who come into contact with such birds.

The assistance of EU and Member State experts has been offered to Romania, Turkey and other countries where AI has been discovered.

ENDS

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