Turkish Authorities Detect New Bird Flu Case near Armenian Border

ANKARA (Armenpress)–A second case of bird flu has been detected in Turkey and the authorities have taken immediate steps to contain the disease–Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday–quoting officials.

Poultry in the eastern province of Igdir–on the border with Armenia–tested positive for the H5 avian influenza virus–but it was not yet known whether it was the lethal H5N1 strain that has killed some 70 people in Asia since 2003–said agricultural ministry spokesman Faruk Demirel.

"We have sent samples to a laboratory in Britain and expect the results in a period of between a week and 10 days," he said.

Turkey said on December 9 that it had eliminated bird flu in the country’s northwest–where it first emerged–testing thousands of samples and slaughtering some 10,000 birds. The first case of H5N1 was detected on October 5 at a turkey farm in the village of Kiziksa–in Balikesir province.

Veterinary experts have warned that Turkey faces a prolonged threat of bird flu outbreaks because it lies on the flight path of migratory birds–believed to have brought the virus to the country.

Demirel said a quarantine zone with a diameter of 10 kilometers (six miles) has been enforced around the neighborhood in Aralik town–where the disease was seen in several coops–and that all sales of poultry have been banned. About 1,200 birds died in the area in mid-December–he said.

The virus is believed to have been brought by migratory birds coming from the Caucasus–the agriculture ministry said in a statement carried by the Anatolia news agency.

"Since the required quarantine measures were imposed even before the diagnosis–there no worrying situation with respect to public health and for producers of poultry and eggs in the country," it said.

About 350 birds have been slaughtered in the area as a precaution. Scientists say millions of people around the world could die if a virulent strain of the disease crosses with human’strains and becomes highly contagious.

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