Sunday, October 09, 2005

Dead birds in Romania and Turkey

It appears that bird flu may have made its much anticipated and feared appearance in Europe and the Arabian peninsula, as both Romania and not far distant Turkey report bird die offs thought to be bird flu. Confirmation that it is subtype H5N1 is yet to come and it remains possible it is a less worrisome avian influenza like H9N2. But given the relationship to migratory bird flyways and known outbreaks in Siberia and the area east of the Urals in Kazakhstan, the surmise that this is H5N1 seems reasonable.

The Romanian cases started with three dead domestic ducks but rapidly progressed to reports of other bird dies offs:
Television stations showed peasants from the village saying large numbers of poultry had died in recent days.

"Mysteriously my birds die one after another. I've lost 45 geese and authorities will kill the rest leaving me with nothing," an angry villager told private station Antenna3. (Reuters)
Another report is more specific:
Some 460 new birds including hens, ducks, swans, turkeys and geese were found dead or killed in recent days in Tulcea county, home to the Danube Delta marshlands, which are a destination for migrating birds, health and veterinary authorities said. Authorities did not immediately provide a breakdown of the deaths and killings.
Meanwhile Turkish authorities report 2000 dead Turkeys (yes, Turkeys in Turkey; who'da thought) in the northwest part of the country. They were on a farm near a natural park noted for its abundant wildfowl. Suspicion immediately fell on migratory birds (Turkish Press). The village where the farm is located was locked down:
Turkey's agriculture minister last night confirmed the country's first cases of bird flu and officials ordered all winged animals and street dogs in the village where it was detected to be destroyed as a precaution against the disease spreading, the Anatolia news agency said.

Military police set up roadblocks at the entrance to the village near Balikesir in western Turkey and are checking all vehicles entering and exiting, it added. (via
Bulgaria, sandwiched between Romania and Turkey (map), was increasing surveillance.