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Bird-flu outbreak slows poultry sales in EU

by 5m Editor
14 February 2006, at 12:00am

EU - European farmers yesterday reported declines in poultry purchases following fresh outbreaks of the lethal H5N1 bird flu virus in birds within the European Union over the weekend. European farmers yesterday reported declines in poultry purchases following fresh outbreaks of the lethal H5N1 bird flu virus in birds within the European Union over the weekend. Consumer fears rose as national health authorities moved to tackle the spread of new incidents of the virus following cases in swans in Greece and Italy, as well as in birds in Russia Karl-Heinz Grasser, the Austrian finance minister, moved to calm the markets, admitting that a bird flu pandemic was a possible risk to European growth, but added: “The bottom line is conditions are really better than expected, so I think good forecasts for 2006.” Slovenia has sent samples from swans for laboratory testing, and the virus has already been identified in Bulgaria and Romania, in wetlands on the routes of migratory birds. However, while the World Health Organisation’s latest tally of human deaths has risen to 91, from 169 infections, no new human cases have been confirmed in Europe. Two people with flu symptoms were placed in isolation at separate hospitals in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, although initial tests did not show signs of bird flu, Greek health ministry officials said yesterday. The monitoring zone for wild birds and poultry was extended from a three kilometre to 10-km zone around the sites where three dead swans were found last week. Small poultry producers were told to move birds into covered areas, the officials said. <i>Source: FT</I>

5m Editor