Avian flu steps swing into action

Authorities are implementing safety measures in parts of Fthiotida, central Greece, where a migrating duck was found to be infected with the H5 strain of bird flu last week. The sample has been sent to a laboratory in London to determine whether it is the H5N1 strain which can also kill humans. Safety measures include local farmers keeping all poultry in enclosed areas where they cannot come in contact with wildlife possibly carrying the virus. Authorities have called for calm, saying that all the necessary steps have been taken and that the area where the migrating duck was found, on a riverbank close to the town of Anthilis, is not located near any poultry farms. «The initial plan for monitoring the bird flu was to take 1,580 samples during 2006. However, following measures adopted last winter, the number of samples taken have already reached 5,000, of which 33 were found to be positive with the virus,» said Panayiotis Triantafyllou, head of the Agricultural Ministry’s department for bird diseases.

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