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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
EU bans Turkish live bird imports
Dead chicken at market place (archive picture)
Turkey says adequate measures were taken to contain the virus
The European Commission says it will ban all Turkish live bird and feather imports, after a bird flu outbreak.

The decision came after Turkish authorities slaughtered up to 2,000 birds in the north-west of the country in an effort to control the disease.

As many as 1,500 turkeys are said to have died on a farm in the region.

Results of tests to establish if cases found in Turkey and Romania are the H5N1 strain, which has killed more than 60 people, would be known by Wednesday.

Reports said the initial tests on the Romanian cases had proved negative for the strain.

Thousands of people have been receiving jabs in Romania in the wake of the suspected outbreak.

'No reason to worry'

The EU has also offered to send veterinary experts to Turkey to assess the situation.

The Turkish authorities have quarantined a 3km (2 mile) area around the affected farm in the province of Balikesir near the Aegean Sea as a precautionary measure.

There are far too many of these outbreaks being linked to our food
Kiran, Bristol, UK

Roadblocks have been set up to check vehicles, the Associated Press reports.

"Unfortunately, we have been confronted with bird flu but everything is under control," Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said late on Saturday.

"All measures have been taken, there is no reason to be worried."

Mutation fear

The outbreak hit the Turkish farm on Tuesday.

Initial tests are said to 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.

It is feared H5N1 could mutate and become a human flu virus, which could lead to a deadly pandemic.

Experts say the virus was spread by migratory birds crossing Turkey on their way from Russia's Urals to Africa.

This summer, Siberian poultry farms reported their first cases of the virus, and in several instances, the strain was confirmed as H5N1.

A farmer explains why he supports the cull of birds

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