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Ciptapangan Visitor
Bulgaria finds avian flu in domestic birds
posted by admin on 24/07/06

Avian Flu Birds,  July 21, 2006

SOFIA, July 20 (Reuters) - Bulgaria said on Thursday it had detected bird flu in three farms in a village in the south of the country near the Turkish border and suspected it was the feared H5N1 strain of the virus.

"It's proven that it's bird flu, we don't know the exact strain yet. We are working on the presumption that it is a highly pathogenic strain of H5N1," Agriculture Minister Nihat Kabil told reporters.

Bulgaria reported four cases of H5N1 infection in wild swans earlier this year, but has not suffered to the same extent as neighbours Turkey in the south and Romania in the north.

This is the Balkan country's first avian flu case in domestic birds.

Bird flu killed four children in eastern Turkey earlier this year, while Romania has reported dozens of outbreaks in birds.

In the current Bulgarian outbreak, 243 chickens and turkeys have either died or been culled and another 480 will be destroyed by the end of the day in Slanchogled in southern Bulgaria, near the border with Turkey and Greece.

"Mass deaths among domestic birds have been registered in the village of Slanchogled. Rapid tests established a bird flu virus. We are putting the village under quarantine before final results show the strain," Kabil said.

A 3-km (two mile) quarantine zone has been set up around the village, including an area of seven more villages with a total of 2,100 domestic birds, to try to prevent the spread of the virus.

Kabil said he had ordered all eggs and poultry products in Slanchogled to be destroyed and has sent veterinary teams to disinfect the roads and supervise the poultry in a larger, 10-km (6-mile) protection area around the site of the outbreak.

The Balkan country will know whether the strain of the virus was from the H5 strain in four days and will send samples to the European Union-certified laboratory in Britain for further testing.

Kabil called on Bulgarians to observe high hygiene standards and appealed to farmers to keep their poultry indoors. He said the cause of the infection was being investigated, but added there was no bird migration at the moment.

He said there was no immediate danger to human health as birds from the village had not been put on sale and the two people in contact with the infected birds were under medical surveillance.

"The infection will be contained and we will not allow it to pass to humans," Kabil said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed on Thursday that an Indonesian man who died earlier this month, had bird flu.

Of the 54 cases confirmed to date in Indonesia, 42 have been fatal. The virus has killed 133 people since 2003, WHO said. Some 200 million birds have died or been culled.

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