Bird Flu Alarm

2006-01-10-Germany boosts customs checks due Turkish bird flu

Understanding Avian Influenza

2006-01-10-Germany boosts customs checks due Turkish bird flu

HAMBURG, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Germany has increased customs checks on people entering from Turkey, where three children have died of bird flu, a minister said in an interview published on Tuesday.

The minister said Germany may also re-impose a ban on keeping poultry outdoors, in order to protect them from infection by migratory birds, but did not see an additional bird flu threat despite the recent outbreak in Turkey.

Junior Agriculture Minister Gert Lindemann, in an interview with the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, said the Friedrich Loeffler scientific institute, which advises German authorities on the risk from bird flu, has concluded that the new Turkish cases do not increase the danger faced by Germany,

However, customs checks on people entering Germany from Turkey had been increased to stop illegal imports of poultry products, he said.

Germany may also re-impose a ban on keeping farm poultry in the open air as a preventative measure when the new migration season for wild birds starts.

"At the moment I expect that the order to keep poultry in pens may be renewed in February or March this year when migrating birds return from their winter quarters," Lindemann said.

Germany confined all poultry to their pens in mid-October after migrating birds spread bird flu close to Moscow, Turkey and Romania.

The ban was removed on December 15 as the disease had not moved substantially westwards, despite fears migrating birds would spread it around Europe.

Lindemann said wild birds returning from their winter quarters needed less rest than in the summer season but their excrement posed a threat.

Understanding Avian Influenza