Bird Flu Alarm

2006-02-28-Bird flu detected in Romania

Understanding Avian Influenza

2006-02-28-Bird flu detected in Romania

Domestic fowl have tested positive for an H5 subtype of bird flu in three villages in eastern Romania.

Samples from the dead hen, turkeys and geese from the villages were sent to the capital Bucharest for further tests to determine whether they had the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, said Danut Culetu, the top government official for Constanta county, where the dead birds were discovered.

Culetu said authorities were waiting for the results before culling birds in the villages of Crangu, Satu Nou and Anghel Saligny and imposing a quarantine.

Authorities quarantined the nearby village of Topalu near the Black Sea, where domestic fowl tested positive for H5N1 in Bucharest laboratory tests. The deadly virus has been found in nine places in Constanta.

Cars and other vehicles travelling out of the villages were being disinfected.

H5N1 was first detected in Romania in October, when it was found in domestic fowl in the Danube Delta, a large natural reserve visited by hundreds of thousands of migratory birds. Since then, there have been more than 30 outbreaks in small villages, forcing authorities to cull more than 150,000 domestic birds.

The virus has spread from Asia to at least 10 European countries and Africa, and scientists fear it could mutate into a form that is easily transmitted between humans, sparking a pandemic.

The disease has killed at least 92 people, mostly in south-east Asia, according to the World Health Organisation.

Meanwhile, a deadly strain of bird flu has been found in wild birds in southern Sweden, authorities said. However, Agriculture Ministry spokesman Anders Gronvall would not confirm that the H5N1 strain had been detected, saying only that "it is the form people have died from, the kind we have feared".

Gronvall said the virus had been found in two dead birds near Oskarshamn, about 150 miles south of Stockholm. It was the first known cases of a deadly strain in Sweden.

Understanding Avian Influenza