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. Bird Flu Hits Western Europe

Over the weekend suspected cases of avian influenza were discovered in Romania's Danube River delta, although authorities are awaiting confirmation. Copyright AFP.
By Kate Walker
Oxford, England (UPI) Feb 13, 2006
Reports of avian-influenza outbreaks in poultry came from Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania, Greece and Italy this weekend, marking the disease's arrival in Western Europe.

H5N1 was found in Sicily and in Puglia and Calabria in southern Italy over the weekend, marking the virus' westernmost foray into Europe.

The Italian government has prohibited the transport of all animals potentially susceptible to avian flu in the affected regions, banned bird hunting and set up 2-mile quarantine zones and 6-mile surveillance zones around the areas the virus was initially detected.

A 29-year-old Greek man has been hospitalized in Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, with avian-influenza symptoms. He has been placed under quarantine, and confirmation of avian-influenza infection is expected in two days.

The man kept birds in Kalohori, a village near Thessaloniki. Over the weekend three dead swans found near Thessaloniki were confirmed to have died from avian flu.

Romania discovered a potential outbreak of avian influenza in poultry near the Black Sea Monday.

Rapid tests conducted on a number of birds found dead in a courtyard in Topraisar indicated the likely presence of an H5 strain of avian influenza. All remaining birds in the courtyard were killed and the area quarantined. Further precautionary measures, including culling, are on hold until the cause of death is confirmed.

Over the weekend suspected cases of avian influenza were discovered in Romania's Danube River delta, although authorities are awaiting confirmation.

Slovenian authorities announced what it is believed will be the country's first case of avian-influenza infection Sunday.

Initial tests performed on a swan found near the Austrian border indicated that it died from H5N1 infection. The test results are currently being confirmed by the European Union Reference Laboratory in Weybridge, England.

Slovenian authorities responded to the discovery by banning the keeping of poultry outdoors, introducing widespread veterinary inspections and setting up a 2-mile quarantine zone and a 6-mile surveillance zone.

Dead swans found in Vidin, Bulgaria, last week were confirmed this weekend to have been killed by the H5N1 strain of avian influenza.

Bulgarian authorities have restricted movement in the area the swans were found and have advised farmers to keep all poultry indoors.

Meanwhile:

-- A Nigerian family living near the farm that last week was reported to have seen 46,000 birds die from avian influenza is being tested for bird flu.

Samples were taken from the family following reports that two children were ill. The children appear to be "in fairly good condition ... but we are still observing them," Abdulsalam Nasidi, a federal Health Ministry official, told Mainichi Daily News.

-- A World Health Organization laboratory in Hong Kong has confirmed that two women who died in Jakarta last week were infected with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza.

Their deaths mark Indonesia's 17th and 18th deaths from bird flu.

-- An Indonesian man who died an hour after being hospitalized Friday may have been infected with avian flu.

The 23-year-old, who worked in the poultry industry, was hospitalized Friday with flu-like symptoms. Samples have been taken for testing, and results are expected this week.

-- A married Indonesian couple who have been hospitalized with avian-flu-like symptoms may represent the country's fifth infection cluster.

The couple, who are still awaiting confirmation of avian-influenza infection, fell ill after coming into contact with sick chickens near their home.

Indonesia has more clustered infections -- cases of infection amongst relatives or people living in close quarters -- than anywhere else in the world, although no cluster has yet shown signs of human-to-human transmission.

-- The Chinese government confirmed the country's eighth death from avian influenza Saturday.

The victim was a 20-year-old woman who fell ill in late January after killing birds she kept at home, according to the government statement. She died Feb. 4.

The woman's friends and associates have been monitored for signs of avian-influenza infection, but none has displayed any flu-like symptoms.

-- Iraqi doctors are investigating six possible cases of avian-influenza infection in the south of the country.

A 25-year-old Amaran fisherman who kept birds in his garden died recently after having exhibited flu-like symptoms for two weeks. Samples taken from the fisherman are currently being tested for avian influenza.

Five of the fisherman's cousins who had been living with him and been in contact with his birds are also being tested for signs of infection.

-- Belgian health officials have tested a dead swan found near the Dutch border for avian influenza and are awaiting results.

It is not believed that the swan died from avian influenza, and the officials are merely following procedure in having the bird tested.

"This is normal procedure. We have tested several birds. It is most likely that it died a natural death," said a Belgian food agency spokeswoman.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
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Bird Flue Hits Africa
Oxford, England (UPI) Feb 09, 2006
Bird flu has hit Africa, and it may have been there for some time. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) confirmed Wednesday that samples taken from the thousands of chickens found dead in northern Nigeria tested positive for H5N1 infection. A poultry farm in Kaduna owned by the country's sports minister, Alhaji Saidu Samaila Sambawa, saw 46,000 birds die from avian flu, Nigeria's VanguardOnline reported.

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