Greek bird flu case confirmed - 17/10/2005

link to article in CNN

ATHENS, Greece (CNN) -- The mayor on the Greek island of Chios said Monday the first positive case of H5N1 bird flu in Greece has been found on the nearby island of Oinousses.

In a televised news conference, the mayor said a farmer on Oinousses who raises turkeys and chickens noted on Thursday that some of his birds had died.

Two state veterinarians were sent in to look at nine turkeys. They also took blood samples from some chickens.

The mayor said a state lab in Athens confirmed Monday afternoon that one of the nine samples proved positive for the deadly H5N1 virus.

Authorities have yet to announce what measures they will be taking. The farmer was taken to a hospital for observation.

The Romanian government confirmed Saturday that the H5N1 strain of avian influenza had been confirmed in Romania, the first instance of the lethal strain known to have reached Europe.

A statement posted on the government Web site said the strain had been confirmed. Its existence in Romania bolsters the theory that the virus may be spread by migratory birds.

On Thursday, the European Union said the H5N1 strain had been confirmed in Turkish poultry, and said the virus "is H5N1 closely related to a virus detected in a wild bird in central Asia a few months ago."

The EU said then that the strain likely would be found in Romania, and the European Commission said it would ban imports of live birds, poultry meat and other products from Romania. Imports of live birds and feathers from Turkey were banned earlier in the week.

Despite the fact that 117 people in Asia have been infected by the strain and 60 have died, H5N1 in its current form does not easily infect humans.

However, officials fear it could mutate into a more easily transmissible strain and result in a global pandemic.

Journalist Anthee Carassava in Athens conributed to this report

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