The European Union confirmed yesterday the first case of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu being found in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, forcing Nicosia to step up protective measures against the disease. The H5N1 strain was detected in one of two chickens which were diagnosed with the broader H5 bird flu on Thursday, said Barbara Helfferich, a spokeswoman for the European Commission. The confirmation is the latest sign that the virus, so far mostly found in Asia, is spreading westward to the edges of Europe. In response to the news, the Cypriot government said that it will tighten controls against the disease, adding that crossings to the northern part would not be closed. Agriculture Minister Timis Efthymiou said that the EU, of which Cyprus is a member, has not imposed any bans on its poultry exports.