Bird flu spreads to Turkish Cyprus

The European Commission confirmed the presence of deadly H5N1 virus in Turkish Cyprus yesterday as Turkey reported a slowing down of the bird flu outbreak that has so far killed four people and infected at least 21.

Bird flu spreads to Turkish Cyprus

The commission said that tests conducted in a British laboratory on samples from birds in northern Cyprus had revealed they had died of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.

Two suspected bird flu cases were found in poultry in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) last week, leading authorities in the Greek Cypriot south -- part of the European Union -- to disinfect vehicles from the north and keep poultry indoors.

"No live animals or animal products, including all poultry products and feathers, can be transferred across the Green Line or to the European Union," the EU Commission said, adding that two EU experts would leave for the area to investigate the situation.

The Green Line divides the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south of the island from the KKTC in the north.

The EU said it would be ready to assist with surveillance if needed. Greek Cypriot authorities have already taken action to prevent the spread of the disease, including keeping all poultry indoors.

Last week, authorities in the KKTC culled some 700 fowl in the village of Ýncirli  (Makrasyka in Greek) after a chicken and a turkey died in the same coop. The village, 18 kilometers east of the coastal town of Famagusta, has been quarantined.

In Turkey, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said yesterday that the bird flu outbreak has slowed down, but urged caution as it was not eliminated. He said authorities were fighting bird flu in 50 places across Turkey and added that there has been no reports of new incidents.

"We can't say it is totally eliminated for now," Eker told reporters in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. "We're maintaining our fight."

Turkey has destroyed 1.5 million fowl across the country to contain the virus and limit the contact of fowl with humans.

In Istanbul, a group of animal rights activists protested the culling and inhumane methods used in the practice, feeding doves in a nearby square with their hands.

Eker played down criticism on inhumane culling, saying there was only one incident in which improper methods were used.

"You cannot blame the whole country because of a wrong act in one place, which we already condemned," he said. "This is not something to exaggerate."

Chickens were seen buried or burned alive in two incidents in the eastern province of Kars and the central Anatolian province of Kayseri in the early stages of the outbreak. Authorities have launched investigations into both cases.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16