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France suspects bird flu at turkey farm

By Staff
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PARIS, Feb 23 (Reuters) France has found a suspected outbreak of H5N1 bird flu at a turkey farm in the east of the country, the farm ministry said today.

If confirmed, it would be the first case of the virus in domestic farmed birds in the European Union.

The ministry said a high mortality rate among turkeys was discovered at the farm, which has more than 11,000 birds and is situated in the department of l'Ain, where two cases of the disease have already been confirmed in wild ducks.

Test results are due tomorrow, it added.

The farm has been cordoned off and all birds will be culled.

The ministry said a security zone of three km (two miles) had been set up around the farm as is usual under the European Union emergency measures.

Germany reported earlier that a second series of tests on a duck on a farm in the northern Baltic Sea island of Ruegen had proved negative for the bird flu disease.

France has said it planned to vaccinate some 900,000 farmed geese and ducks in three departments thought most at risk from the H5N1 virus and that could not be kept inside. Media reports have estimated the cost of the programme at 1.6 million euros.

REUTERS MP RAI2150

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