Turkey, Romania kill poultry to stop bird flu spread


Turkey and Romania culled thousands of birds and imposed quarantine zones today to try to stop the spread of avian flu as scientists worked to discover if the outbreaks could be the deadly H5N1 strain.

Reports of Turkey's outbreak only surfaced last night, but nearly 2,000 turkeys died at the affected farm near the Aegean Sea on Tuesday and Wednesday and hundreds more were culled overnight in the affected area, local media said.

Hurriyet newspaper quoted Mehmet Eksen, owner of the stricken farm, as saying he now feared for his own health. Authorities slapped a 3 km (1.8 mile) quarantine ring around the site.

"I cried when I witnessed the death of my turkeys. I cannot forget those moments ... But now I think of myself and what will happen to my health. I cannot go near my wife and children."

The state Anatolian news agency quoted local official Resul Celik as saying: "At the moment this is not a situation which should cause (ordinary citizens) any worry."

Romania's suspected outbreak was detected in poultry in the Danube delta, on the Black Sea, and the European Commission says the two cases are different but they have raised the spectre of the disease reaching European Union countries.

If the Romanian cases did turn out to be the deadly H5N1 virus, they would be the first evidence the strain has spread to Europe from Asia, where it has killed more than 60 people and millions of birds since 2003. Russia and Kazakhstan have already had outbreaks.