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EU faces calls for more action on bird flu


The European Union faces growing calls to deliver a coordinated strategy to combat bird flu.


France is the latest country to demand immediate action from the EU Commission, including increased monitoring of migratory birds and measures to protect farm-raised poultry.


Outbreaks of the diseaase at the weekend in Turkey and Romania have sparked fears that it could advance into western Europe.


Experts have not established whether the latest cases are from the H5N1 virus, which has killed millions of birds and dozens of people in Asia over the last two years.


Romania is culling thousands of farmyard birds in the Danube delta. Some residents are angry at what they call the arbitrary nature of the action.


"Last year the birds also died, including 70 of mine. No measures were taken. Why now ? It's up to us if we want to eat them or not. The authorities have no right to do this," one woman said.


Turkey has warned that it faces a high risk of further outbreaks as it lies along the path of many species of migrating birds.


In Bulgaria experts are testing samples from three dead birds found around 100 kilometres from the Romanian border.

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Hey... That's about the size of a small nation... sad.gif

Worse is that if the virus mutate to harmful strain, it's really difficult to put it out permanently...and the seasonal epidermic will be a haunting... ohmy.gif


Thailand offers EU help in fight against bird flu

BRUSSELS, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Thailand, whose poultry sector has been ravaged by bird flu, offered its assistance to the European Union as the disease appeared to creep ever closer to the EU's borders, the EU executive's chief said on Wednesday. ...

Bird flu began sweeping through Thai poultry flocks in late 2003, all but wiping out markets for what was then the world's fourth largest poultry exporter.

Now, the highly contagious disease has been found in Turkey and may also be present in Romania. Both countries have already culled thousands of birds to prevent the virus from spreading.



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Deadly strain of bird flu confirmed in Turkey

The bird flu virus that has spread to Turkey has been confirmed as the H5N1 strain that is dangerous to humans. There is no anti-viral drug available specifically for this disease, although the EU says other products could be effective.


European Commissioner for health Markos Kyprianou said: "We have received now confirmation that the virus found in Turkey is an avain flu H5N1 high pathogenic virus."


"Our experts team which was on location in Romania performed some tests with our reagents and it was confirmed again that it was the H5 virus. We don't know the rest of the strain, we don't know if it was the one in Turkey."


Kyprianou said migratory birds could transmit the virus.


The news confirms that potentially lethal bird flu, which has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003, has reached southeastern Europe.


The Commission says it is working on the assumption that the strain found in Romania is the deadly version. There authorities plan to cull 15,000 birds.


EU experts on avian influenza and migratory birds will hold an emergency meeting on Friday.


They are expected to advise precautions to be taken in Romania and Turkey, including asking travellers to avoid visiting farms.








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On the bright side it will give us a more equal society, just look what happened after the Black Death... every cloud and all that


not a chance, i bet u can already see the dollar signs lighting up in the rich drug companies eyes. they will be the only winners in a world wide pandemic, allowing them to profit from selling all the governments of the world millions and millions of vaccines. However the fact is that only 60 people have died of 'bird flu' ever, and the chances of it becoming huge on the scale of the outbreak of spanish flu in 1918 are very very small.

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I beg to differ, go and buy a book on the subject and you will see the great social changes which took place in post black death Europe.


I am aware of the huge social implictions of the black death on the peasants of europe in the 13th and the 14th century. The fact that there were basically not enough of them to work the land, and the value of the survivors shot through the roof meaning they could demand what they wanted in order to keep working the land and thus many of them became new wealthy land owners. However it is precisly my point that it was the 13th centuy and now being in the 21st centuy this will not be the case. Yes the poor are the ones who are more likley to die from any potential pandemic as they are the ones with the least effective healthcare and poorest diets. But the fact that you are basing your theory on the black death doesnt take into account of the massive changes in the world in the last 700 or so years, and seems ridiculous to do so. Even in a worst case scenario of 50million deaths worldwide, this will not make a scratch on the world population of 6.5 Billion, whereas 700 years ago there was no chance you get hundreds of thousands of workers to replace the victims of bubonic plague, now with relativly cheap inter continental travel and millions and millions of poor from the 3rd world literally risking their lives to enter europe for the hope of a better life, the people who would die of bird flu in europe would be replaced within a couple of years at most, for an even poorer wage than most are on now, as the immigrants would die for just the chance to be able to work.

As a firm socialist Im all for the breaking down of class barriers and a more equal society. But im afraid the richer would get richer and the poor poorer if bird flu was to take the lives of many millions in europe. Even in the case of the spanish flu outbreak of 1918 where the death toll was 50million social boundries were not transversed significanly, so to base an arguement on a piece of history 700 years ago is very wrong.

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I'm not getting petty! I must admit that the 14th century plague is not my speciality however, I was just pointing out to Slades_69 that I maybe a little more qualified to talk on such matters. I have no worries about anyone challanging my opinion infact I welcome it.


I will only say this. If bird flu does mutate we will face far greater casualties than that inflicted by Spanish flu in 1918. 50 million to me sound very conservative to me because


1) In 1918 the population had already been decimated by WWI, some 9 million casualties over 4 years.


2) The population of the planet at the turn of the last centuary was between 1.5-2 billion estimated, compared to 6.4 billion estimated today.


Although medical advances may impeed the virus I hold little hope that the mechanisms in place to administer such medicine would be able to cope with a pandemic.

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Right, i agree that many will die, especially in the far east where the disease has taken hold and have the most underdeveloped heath care systems. however my point was that it was wrong to base your theory on possible changes to european social class system on what happened 700 years ago. im sure you are more qualified to speak on the matter as i have a degree in law and i was attempting to simplify and sum up the effects of the black death so everyone could understand without boring them, im not a social historian and dont pretend to be so. Also im sure u worked very hard for your 1st and congratulations for it. sorry for any insult

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It was the social changes made in medieval European society which still reverberate to this day; in fact I would go as far as to say that many ideas formed prior to the Black Death (I'm thinking of 12th century Europe now) are still shaping world society.


@ Slade_69: No I did not mail order my degree: I did not go to Oxbridge but I did go to one of the best history departments in the UK: And no I did not work hard for my degree, in fact I'm quite lazy.



Anyway back to my original "argument". I should point out that I did in fact put no argument up for scrutiny, I was however, just pointing out a fact that pandemics often bring in some degree of social change, it should be noted some had a greater impact than others.


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European Union officials helping Turkey investigate an outbreak of bird flu say there is no indication the virus poses a human health problem.


The outbreak in a western village killed 1,800 turkeys.


The virus, found 120 kilometres from Istanbul, was the deadly H5N1 strain that has decimated flocks in Asia, killing over 60 people there.


Ankara says that now nearly 10,000 birds have been culled, the outbreak is contained.


Philippe Houdart of the Belgium Food Agency said: "The disease is mainly at the moment a veterinary problem so as far as we are concerned this is not at the moment a human health problem. And that is why the EU sent veterinary experts and not human health experts."


Tests on dead ducks in Romania confirmed the presence of H5N1 in the Danube delta, Europe's largest wetlands and a major way station for birds migrating south towards warmer climes.


Many scientists believe HN51 will eventually mutate into a form transmitttable between humans, making a pandemic more likely.


Roche, the firm which makes the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, has said it is giving three million packs to the World Health Organization


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It may look like a sun-kissed paradise but the picture-postcard island of Inousses in the Aegean Sea is at the forefront of fears that bird flu is spreading uncontrollably across Europe.


The virus has been detected on the tiny Greek island and, if confirmed as the deadly H5N1 strain, it will be the first such case within the European Union.


From Russia, bird flu has already moved into Turkey and Romania. Bulgaria and other Balkan countries have also been testing birds.


Migrating species heading to Europe and Africa are believed to be behind the spread.


As EU foreign ministers hold emergency talks on the problem today, Romanian ornithologist Eugen Petrescu warned that as birds fly to the south and west, the virus would spread.


In a bid to protect itself from bird flu, the southern German state of Bavaria has decided to outlaw poultry markets.


Before the ban came into effect, some were glad to get rid of their remaining stocks.


"I will sell my chickens for half price just so that they are gone," said a visitor to one bird market in the state.


Europe is attemping to balance moves to test for outbreaks with the need to reassure EU citizens amid growing concern about a disease with the potential to mutate and cause a pandemic among humans.








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London's Heathrow Airport is at the front-line of the battle to keep bird flu out of Britain. Customs teams there are using sniffer dogs to check luggage on incoming flights from Turkey and Romania - countries where the deadly H5N1 strain has been detected.


While no passports are required for cross-border travellers of the feathered variety, migrating birds can also be closely monitored for signs of illness.


On a westward journey, bird flu has now penetrated the European Union, although it remains unclear whether the form found on a tiny Greek island is H5N1.


European Union Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou has called on member states to stock up on anti-viral drugs.


"We have not reached the level of preparedness that we should have," he said.


At an emergency meeeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers urged global co-operation. They also moved to reassure the public.


Yet, experts say it is only a matter of time before H5N1 bird flu changes enough to make it a disease that transmits easily from human to human.


If that happens, across the planet, millions of people could die.


Amid such fears, pressure has been piling on Swiss drugmaker Roche to increase the output of Tamiflu, the most effective anti-viral drug currently available for avian influenza.


It now says it will consider allowing companies and governments in developing nations to produce the drug, in preparation for a feared bird flu pandemic.


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With the European Union insisting that the risk of people catching bird flu is minimal, Russia has told the bloc that a deadly bird flu outbreak has spread westwards to around 200km south of Moscow.


Germany has now ordered all poultry to be kept indoors, to avoid contact with migrating birds believed to be spreading the disease.


Romania and Turkey are also fighting an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of the virus, which has killed over 60 people in Asia since 2003.Greece has to wait until next week to find out if the bird flu found in a turkey on an Aegean Sea island is H5N1.Health minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, visiting Oinouses, said the discovery there did not represent an immediate threat to humans. He made a point of eating chicken.


Some locals say media coverage is creating groundless fears, amid reports most pharmacies in Athens have run out of seasonal flu vaccines. If H5N1 mutates to a form that spreads easily from person to person - and not all scientists think it will - a new vaccine is the best hope of avoiding thousands of deaths.


Hungary says a prototype that it has been testing has proved promising. Britain is now inviting drug manufacturers to tender contracts to supply 120 million doses - two shots per inhabitant - in the case of a pandemic.


However, it could take six months after a pandemic strain emerges to develop a vaccine.


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