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Brussels, 16 March 2010

Avian Influenza: Highly pathogenic H5N1 virus confirmed in Romania

The European Commission will adopt today a decision confirming the risk areas set up by the Romanian authorities in relation to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a backyard poultry farm located in the commune of Letea, in Tulcea county, at the Danube's delta close to the Ukrainian border.

Romania's national laboratory confirmed yesterday that the outbreak concerns the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza. In order to limit the spread of the virus the Romanian authorities applied immediately the necessary control measures laid down in EU legislation.

These include the killing of all poultry in the infected farm and the establishment of a protection zone with a 3km radius and a surveillance zone with a 10 km radius around the farm where strict movement controls are in place. Gatherings of poultry and other birds are banned, and on-farm bio-security measures must be strengthened.

The 10km zone around the outbreak is considered to be a "high risk area" and is surrounded by a larger "low risk area" for which also certain restrictions on movements and additional bio-safety measures for poultry farms apply.

This is the first detection of the highly avian influenza H5N1 in the EU in a year. The last case, confirmed in March 2009, concerned a wild duck in Germany.

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