Governments in both Turkey and Romania have ordered the culling of hundreds of birds and quarantined some villages after ‘reported outbreaks’ of avian (bird) flu in both countries.
Romania has slaughtered more than 1,000 animals and Turkey has culled 2,000 chickens and turkeys after reporting its first outbreak of avian flu, which is commonly spread by migratory birds.
However, there have still been no confirmed cases in Europe of the virulent H5N1 strain of the virus, which has killed 65 people and millions of birds in Asia since 2003. Romania is still conducting tests, and the European Commission said that no cases of avian flu had yet been formally confirmed there.
Experts are concerned that avian flu has already spread to Siberia and Kazakhstan and the European Commission has confirmed that it is working alongside member states with all the preparatory measures it can offer to prepare for any flu pandemic.
Brussels is urging member states to prepare for the worst-case scenario, and to stockpile antiviral drugs and to generate more vaccines.
The World Health Organisation warned last month that bird flu was moving towards a form that could be passed between humans, and the world had no time to waste to prevent a pandemic.