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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
At-a-glance: Europe on bird flu alert
Bird flu vaccine developed by British firm PowderMed
European countries have been urged to stockpile anti-viral drugs
The European Commission wants a temporary ban on imports of wild birds into the EU, as countries do what they can to keep out the bird flu virus.

Britain - currently the EU president - called for the blanket ban after the potentially lethal H5N1 strain was detected in a quarantined parrot.

Outbreaks of the H5N1 virus have occurred in Romania, Russia and Turkey.

The EU has banned imports of live birds and poultry from these countries.

Cases of bird flu - not confirmed as H5N1 - have also been reported on the Greek island of Chios, in Croatia and Sweden.

Here we outline how European countries are responding to the threat.

BRITAIN

UK authorities announced on 23 October that H5N1 had been detected in a parrot that died in quarantine. The case prompted the government to press for a blanket EU ban on wild bird imports.

The UK has plans to purchase enough vaccine for the entire population in the event of a flu pandemic.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said 120 million doses would be needed - two for every person in the country.

The UK has so far stockpiled 2.5 million courses of anti-viral drugs, and has ordered a total of 14.6 million.

BULGARIA

Bulgaria has banned imports of live birds and poultry from Greece, Turkey, Romania and Macedonia, which has reported a suspected bird flu outbreak.

It has also tightened border controls with its Balkan neighbours.

CROATIA

Croatia banned bird and poultry exports to EU countries after finding the H5 avian flu virus in dead wild swans at a fish pond in the east of the country.

It has begun slaughtering poultry in villages near the pond.

FRANCE

France has tightened measures to prevent an outbreak of H5N1, telling farmers in 21 regions near wetlands to move their free-range birds indoors.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin says some 200 million protective masks will be available by the end of the year, and enough anti-viral drugs for 14 million people.

He said 50 million masks were already being delivered to French hospitals.

Health checks at airports have also been stepped up.

GERMANY

Two dead geese have tested positive for bird flu in initial checks, German officials say.

Further tests are to be carried out to establish if it is the deadly H5N1 strain.

The birds were among up to 25 wild geese and ducks found dead on Monday in a lake used by migratory birds near Neuwied, in Rhineland-Palatinate state.

Germany has ordered all poultry to be kept indoors.

It is also tightening controls at borders and airports to try to prevent the spread of avian flu through illegal animal imports.

GREECE

Greece has banned the export of all live birds and poultry products from the Aegean Sea islands around Oinouses, where the country's first case of bird flu has been found.

Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis says 210,000 extra doses of the anti-viral drugs have been ordered.

Pharmacist say demand for the drugs has been very high, so some will now be reserved for those who need them most, such as the sick and elderly.

NETHERLANDS

Dutch people who keep a few chickens or other birds as pets have been told to keep them indoors or in enclosures.

Farmed poultry is now being kept indoors in areas where chickens come into contact with wild birds. Last month the Dutch government eased a ban on keeping birds outdoors, imposed in August after cases of bird flu were reported in Russia.

The Netherlands, one of the world's biggest meat exporters, had to cull about a quarter of its poultry two years ago after an outbreak of bird flu.

ROMANIA

UK scientists identified H5N1 in three ducks found dead in Ceamurlia de Jos in Romania - the first incidence of the dangerous strain in mainland Europe.

Thousands of people in the Danube delta region have already been vaccinated against the common flu and the authorities are closely monitoring the affected area.

Huge flocks of migratory birds arrive in the delta each year, many of them from Russia.

Thousands of birds have been culled in and around Ceamurlia de Jos and local people have been told to keep poultry indoors.

RUSSIA

Vets have found H5N1 in the Chelyabinsk region in the southern Urals. It is believed to have been carried there by wild birds from Siberia.

Russia confirmed on 19 October an outbreak of H5N1 in the Tula region, 200 km (125 miles) south of Moscow.

Russia culled more than 100,000 birds in July after a less virulent form of bird flu was found in the Novosibirsk region, in Siberia.

SPAIN

The Spanish government says it is ordering up to 10 million doses of anti-viral drugs, up from an initial order of two million doses.

TURKEY

Turkey reported its first cases of bird flu on 8 October and on 13 October the EU confirmed that it was H5N1.

Thousands of birds have been culled in and around Kiziksa, western Turkey, where the outbreak occurred.






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