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EU import ban on live birds from Turkey remains in place

Brussels, Jan 5, IRNA-The European Union said Thursday that it is working in close contact with the Turkish authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) to clarify the situation following reports that four people who have died in Turkey in recent days were infected with bird flu.

"There may be additional suspected cases," Michael Mann, European Commission spokesman for health and agriculture, told reporters in Brussels.

An outbreak of the avian influenza was confirmed in chickens in eastern Turkey, in the vicinity of the border with Armenia and Iran, a few days ago.

Laboratory tests in turkey suggested that four people, including a boy and a girl who died respectively on Sunday and Wednesday night, have been infected with avian influenza virus.

The sick chickens which might have transmitted the disease To the humans are expected to arrive Thursday at an EU laboratory for Avian influenza in Weybridge, UK.

"This will clarify whether the animal outbreak was due to the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza," said Mann.

"Obviously, the complete ban on any import from Turkey of live birds and poultry products adopted in early October 2005 remain in place," added the spokesman.

... Payvand News - 1/5/06 ... --

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