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Romania detects new suspected bird flu case in fowl

By Staff
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BUCHAREST, Feb 26 (Reuters) Romania detected new suspected cases of bird flu in domestic fowl in a village in the south-east, but more tests were needed to see if it was the deadly H5N1 strain, authorities said today.

Avian flu has been detected in 34 villages across the country and in a small Black Sea resort since the virus was first found in the Danube Delta in October. Romania has not reported any cases in humans.

''Veterinarians detected suspected bird flu in the Topalu village in Constanta county,'' the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Topalu is around 60 km (40 miles) north-east of the small Black Sea resort of Navodari, where bird flu was confirmed last Sunday.

It said all birds in the yard involved had been culled and samples were sent to a laboratory in Bucharest to determine which strain it was.

The ministry said there were 600 households in Topalu which have around 15,000 domestic birds.

The World Health Organisation and local experts warned earlier this month that Romania could see human cases of bird flu because its rural areas, where around 45 per cent of the 22 million population live, lack proper water and sewerage systems.

The H5N1 virus remains difficult for humans to catch but has killed more than 90 people worldwide and experts fear it can mutate in a form that spreads easily among people.

Reuters OM BD1727

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