Bird Flu Alarm

2005-12-29-Romania confirms deadly bird flu in six villages

Understanding Avian Influenza

2005-12-29-Romania confirms deadly bird flu in six villages

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania confirmed the presence of the deadly bird flu strain in six villages east of Bucharest on Thursday after test results from a British laboratory detected the H5N1 virus in suspect poultry.

Bird flu was detected in the villages earlier this month but Romania is not able to test for the highly pathogenic strain and had to send samples to Britain for confirmation.

"The laboratory from London confirmed the deadly H5N1 virus," Nicolae Stefan, head of the animal health and diagnosis institute, told Reuters.

The six villages are Modelu, Traian, Reviga, Odaile, Marsilieni and Tataru.

The virus H5N1 has killed more than 70 people in Asia since late 2003. The virus remains hard for people to catch, but there are fears it could mutate into a form which passes easily from person to person.

Romania has found bird flu in 26 villages in and around the Danube delta where the virus was first detected in October.

Nine previous outbreaks have been confirmed as the H5N1 strain by the laboratory in Weybridge near London.

The delta is Europe's largest wetlands which lie on a major migratory route for wild birds.

Understanding Avian Influenza