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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 21:33 GMT 22:33 UK
Romania bird flu tests negative
Romanian health worker carries a dead goose
Some countries banned poultry imports from Romania and Turkey
EU veterinary experts have concluded that the bird flu virus is not present in Romania, after talks in Brussels.

But they backed an EU ban on poultry and feathers imports from Turkey after a suspected outbreak there.

Romania culled thousands of birds amid fears of an outbreak of the H5N1 virus, which can kill humans, after ducks were found dead in a remote village.

Fears about a Bulgarian outbreak have so far proved unfounded, although three dead wild birds are being tested.

Test results on separate samples from Turkey are expected later in the week.

Ankara is racing to contain a suspected outbreak at a turkey farm in the western town of Kiziksa.

No import ban

"All the virological tests carried out to date in Romania have failed to identify the presence of the avian influenza virus. Every day that passes... reassures us that avian influenza is not in fact present in Romania," said EU spokesman Philip Tod.

Three EU experts sent to Romania will conclude their mission on Thursday, after receiving the last test results.

Both Turkey and Romania fear the spread of H5N1, which has killed more than 60 people in South-East Asia over the past two years.

However there is no evidence so far that the strain is being passed between humans.

The Balkan neighbours of Romania and Turkey have banned imports of poultry from the two countries, as have Ukraine and Switzerland. The EU banned imports of live birds and feathers from Turkey, but says it has no similar plans for Romania.

The ban will be reviewed on a monthly basis and could be limited in scope, depending on the results of more tests due out on Friday.


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