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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 October 2005, 00:42 GMT 01:42 UK
Bird flu strikes in Danube delta
Romanian health worker removes ducks for slaughter
Romania has started killing ducks as a preventative measure
Romania has reported its first bird flu cases but it is unclear if the strain found in the Danube delta is the deadly H5N1 virus which hit parts of Asia.

Scientists in Bucharest discovered flu antibodies in three domestic ducks found dead in a remote village late last month, the government said.

The exact strain is to be determined by a lab in the UK in the next few days.

Turkey has also confirmed its first case of bird flu at a turkey farm in the west of the country.

Turkish Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said that all the birds in the village in Balikesir province had been destroyed and the area had been disinfected.

Officials have told the Turkish media that initial tests have identified the virus as belonging to the H5 type of flu.

But further tests will be needed to establish if it is the H5N1 strain which has killed more than 60 people in southeast Asia over the past two years.

There is no evidence so far of the strain being passed between humans.

Monitoring effort

The three Romanian cases were found in the village of Ceamurlia de Jos, Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur said.

Mysteriously my birds die one after another
Ceamurlia de Jos villager

Access to the village near the Black Sea has been restricted.

Analysts say the Danube delta is particularly vulnerable because it lies along a route taken by migratory birds, which often mix with domestic ducks and geese.

Romanian monitors had been collecting samples for months and planning for such an eventuality, the minister said.

Fears rose that it was travelling west after poultry farms in eastern Russia reported numerous cases of bird flu in the summer.

'Second village'

Reuters news agency reported on Saturday that three more cases had been discovered in a different Danube delta village, Smardan.

Ion Agafitei, a senior veterinarian, was quoted by the agency as saying that the birds had tested positive for a flu virus.

In Ceamurlia de Jos, he said, 220 domestic birds had been culled in a bid to stamp out the virus.

Ceamurlia de Jos, Smardan and five other villages had been placed under quarantines, he added.

"The process is ongoing and will continue," he told Reuters.

Local farmers have been telling Romanian media that they recorded dozens of poultry dying in recent days.


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