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Netherlands sees no threat from Russian bird flu

by 5m Editor
1 August 2005, at 12:00am

THE NETHERLANDS - The Dutch farm ministry played down fears on Monday that a strain of bird flu found in Russia could spread to the Netherlands, saying no extra protection measures were needed. The Russian Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service warned earlier on Monday that the strain dangerous to humans could spread to parts of the European Union, including the Netherlands and France.

Netherlands sees no threat from Russian bird flu - THE NETHERLANDS - The Dutch farm ministry played down fears on Monday that a strain of bird flu found in Russia could spread to the Netherlands, saying no extra protection measures were needed. The Russian Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service warned earlier on Monday that the strain dangerous to humans could spread to parts of the European Union, including the Netherlands and France.

"We have made a risk assessment and it's not necessary to take extra measures," a spokeswoman for the Dutch ministry said. "The outbreak poses no threat to the Netherlands."

The Russian official said the bird flu could spread as infected migrating wild birds from China might have been in contact in Russia with birds that will fly on to EU countries.

The official said it had been confirmed on Friday that birds in the Novosibirsk region were infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which is dangerous to humans, and not with H5N2, as had previously been believed.

More than 50 people have died in Asia from H5N1 since late 2003, raising fears it could mutate and form the basis of a global epidemic.

Bird flu is split in strains such as H5 and H7, which in turn have nine different subtypes. H5N1 subtype is highly pathogenic and can be passed from birds to humans, although there have been no known cases of human to human transmission.

The Netherlands, one of the world's biggest meat exporters, was hit by an outbreak of bird flu disease in 2003, which led to the slaughter of a quarter of all Dutch poultry at a cost of hundreds of millions of euros.

Local poultry farms are being tested regularly since then.

Source: Reuters - 1st August 2005

5m Editor