Area closed off after bird flu found in Romania

first_img The area includes the Danube and Black Sea counties of Tulcea and Constanta, where 1.5 million people live. The two lake-filled counties are an important stop for migratory birds from Asia. Flutur said birds in four neighboring counties were being monitored. “We are doing what needs to be done,” he said. “There should be no panic. We are proceeding the way they proceeded in other countries.” The finding of H5N1 in Romania underscored fears that Europe is unprepared for a pandemic should the virus mutate into a form that can be passed from person to person. “Experts take the view that an influenza pandemic is inevitable and may be imminent,” the European Union’s health directorate said on its Web site. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Authorities around the world fear the virus could mutate into a form that can be passed among people, leading to a flu pandemic that some say could potentially kill millions. So far, most of the 60 humans deaths involving H5N1 have been linked to victims’ contact with birds. In Vietnam, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt called for all nations to work together to quickly come up with preparedness plans. Leavitt warned that the “chances are not good” for being able to detect when a dangerous mutation first occurs and for moving fast to contain it and prevent a pandemic. British laboratory tests confirmed that H5N1 was the virus that killed migratory birds found dead in Romania’s Danube River delta. Romanian Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur placed the Dobrogea region under quarantine, requiring all vehicles entering and leaving the area to be disinfected. Checkpoints were set up on roads into the area, and the region was banned from shipping out eggs and poultry meat. BUCHAREST, Romania – Romanian authorities called for calm Saturday as they quarantined an eastern region where tests confirmed Europe’s first appearance of a deadly strain of bird flu that has devastated flocks and killed dozens of people in Asia. Poland’s government, meanwhile, banned the sale of live birds at open-air markets and ordered farmers to keep poultry in closed quarters beginning Monday. It also banned pigeon races. “We are doing this to protect the public from danger,” Polish Agriculture Minister Jerzy Pilarczyk said. On Friday, after the deadly H5N1 virus was confirmed in Turkey, on Europe’s doorstep, European Union experts agreed that steps should be taken to limit contact between domestic fowl and wild birds. Experts say migrating birds have spread the disease since it appeared in Southeast Asia two years ago. last_img