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Brussels, 13 October 2005

Avian Influenza in Romania: Presence of virus confirmed

The three EU laboratory experts sent to Romania by the Commission last Monday have confirmed that Avian Influenza virus H5 has been detected in tests on two samples from a chicken and a duck taken in a suspected backyard farm in the Danube delta. This finding has been confirmed by using reagents the EU experts brought with them from the Community reference laboratory. Further tests are necessary to ascertain if the virus in question is the H5N1 strain.

Given that it has been confirmed that the virus is present in Romania, the Commission will now adopt the same measures already taken for Turkey, last Monday, that is to say a ban on imports of live birds, poultry meat and other poultry products.

An emergency meeting of the Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health will be convened in Brussels on Thursday 13 October to review the situation. In the meantime, by Thursday the Community Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza Weybridge, UK should be able to confirm or exclude that the virus isolated in Turkey is the H5N1 strain.

The Commission will provide a further update to the press on the latest developments at its daily press briefing at the Berlaymont in Brussels at midday (CET) on Thursday 13 October.

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