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  • Texanna
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    Dagestan-initially blamed on Newcastle disease, but authorities have confirmed H5N1

    EU says 'don't panic' as bird flu hits three more countries
    By Simon Freeman





    European Union leaders today appealed for calm as a flurry of new suspect cases of bird flu broke out in Europe's heartland, prompting a further collapse in poultry prices.



    "There?s no need to panic. We have to advise the European public to stay calm. There?s no reason not to consume chicken," Markos Kyprianou, EU Health Commissioner, insisted on the second-day of a crisis summit in Brussels.

    Mr Kyprianou's assurances came as details emerged of possible new cases of the lethal H5N1 strain of the avian virus were detected in Denmark, Switzerland and Slovakia.

    So far in Europe, the highly pathogenic form of the virus has been confirmed in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Austria, Italy, Germany and the European part of Russia. Other countries still investigating possible outbreaks include Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

    Luxembourg and Lichtenstein have now joined France, Europe?s biggest poultry producer, and Sweden, the Netherlands, Slovenia and parts of Norway in ordering all poultry to be locked indoors to prevent contact with wildfowl carrying the virus.

    In Britain, which has yet to follow suit, poultry traders said that they are being offered chicken from the Continent for as little as 40p per lb, compared with prices for home-reared chickens of up to 55p per lb.

    In Italy, sales of poultry have collapsed by 70 per cent in a week, prompting farmers to decry an "unjustified collective panic". French and Belgian sales are down by 20 per cent.

    Veterinary experts on the EU's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health are meeting to decide what other measures can be taken to stall the spread of the disease.

    Mr Kyprianou warned that the number of cases was expected to multiply in central Europe as warm spring weather draws birds further south than usual on their migratory pathway.

    "Given that the spring migration will begin soon we will review again the situation to see if there?s need for additional methods... We shouldn?t be surprised if we have more migratory wild birds with this virus," he said.

    The EU is likely to widen the no-go areas around affected zones: at present a two-mile protection area and four-mile surveillance zone are set up when outbreaks of the virus are reported. In the protection zone, all poultry must be kept indoors and cannot be transported except to slaughterhouses. Hunting wild fowl is banned.

    Fears have been further heightened with the discovery of the presence of H5N1 in some of the hundreds of thousands of birds which died in the Russian region of Dagestan two weeks ago. The two incidents of the mass death of 345,000 birds was initially blamed on Newcastle disease, but authorities have confirmed H5N1 was present.
    As European leaders tried to bolster their defences against the relentless spread, it also emerged that some farmers are attempting to dodge the clampdown.

    A Greek farmer was today fined ?6,000 (?4,100) after telling inspectors that he had slaughtered his flock in an at-risk area in Halkidiki. Agencies who visited his smallholding discovered that he had lied.

    The H5N1 strain has killed at least 90 people - almost half those who contracted it - mostly in South East Asia and China where it first erupted but also in Turkey and northern Iraq. Scientists fear that it could mutate into a virus capable of being passed directly between humans, triggering a pandemic.

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  • Glenn 50
    started a topic Dagestan

    Dagestan

    Mass bird plague registered in Dagestan

    Russia

    40,000 chickens have died at a battery farm in Dagestan. Tests of biomaterial are sent to several laboratories. It is not ruled out that the reason for epidemic could be bird flu. It is expected that results of the tests will be known on February 17.

    There have been no cases of human infection by bird flu at the battery farm, reports Ekho Moskvy
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