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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
EU vets agree bird flu measures
Chickens at a market in Istanbul
The deadly strain was discovered in Turkey last week
European Union veterinary officers have agreed a package of measures aimed at preventing the deadly bird flu virus from entering the 25-nation bloc.

The measures will "focus on strengthening bio-security measures on farms and introducing early detection systems in high risk areas".

The experts met for two days of emergency talks, after a deadly strain of the virus was detected in Turkey.

But they said bird flu does not yet pose a risk to public health.

An unconfirmed strain of bird flu has also been found in two Romanian villages.

Results indicating whether this is also the lethal H5N1 variant found in Turkey are expected in the coming days.

The EU experts said measures should be taken "to prevent contact between wild and domestic species as far as it is practicable to do so".

In both countries the infected poultry was close to sites favoured by migrating birds.

The experts also agreed that farmers needed to inform the authorities of such bird flu risk symptoms as a drop in egg production or increased bird mortality rates.

More talks

The European Commission has banned imports of live birds and poultry products from Turkey and Romania.

European countries are being urged to stockpile anti-viral drugs. In the Turkish and Romanian capitals, some pharmacies have run out of anti-flu medicines because of heavy demand.

Production of the drug Tamiflu, identified as a prime weapon against bird flu, will be doubled by the end of the year, maker Roche has said.

EU foreign ministers are to hold emergency talks on the bird flu threat on Tuesday when they meet in Luxembourg for WTO negotiations.

The H5N1 strain has killed more than 60 people in South East Asia since 2003. However, of those only one is suspected to have died after catching the virus from another human.

Mood of 'controlled anxiety' among bird flu experts


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