Third man clear of avian flu

A 65-year-old farmer hospitalized in Serres, northern Greece, with a suspicious fever has not contracted bird flu, the third person to be cleared of the deadly H5N1 virus in the week since the virus emerged in Greece. Hospital officials said the man, who had recently handled dead chickens, has the common flu. Earlier this week, two other Greeks – a 29-year-old hunter and a teenage boy – were also hospitalized with flu-like symptoms but tests cleared them of the disease. But authorities are continuing to test anyone with suspect symptoms as cases emerge around the country. The latest case involves a 78-year-old woman in Edessa, who is being examined. The European Commission yesterday went over its action plan in the event the disease infects poultry on farms. Brussels approved 40,000 euros for Greece to use this year to monitor the disease. The 25-nation bloc has a budget of 1.9 billion euros to battle bird flu. Brussels has also instructed all member states which discover the disease in farms to kill the entire flock instead of just the sick animals.