Bird flu virus found in Romania, agriculture minister says

Experts have confirmed a bird flu virus has been found in samples taken from dead birds in Romania's Danube Delta, the agriculture minister said Thursday. The samples are being sent to Britain to identify the specific strain of the virus. So far there are no indications it is the H5N1 strain, which is blamed for the deaths of more than 60 people in Asia since 2003.

"We hope it's a low intensity virus," said Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur. "We are continuing measures to isolate the affected area."

The Interior Ministry has extended a quarantine in the village of Ceamurlia de Jos, where the infected fowl was found, to people. Only authorities are allowed to enter and exit the remote village, which is located in the east of the delta, close to the Black Sea.

Authorities have culled thousands of birds in Ceamurlia to prevent the spread of the virus. On Wednesday, local authorities called in the military to help speed up the culling process.

Experts have been working since Friday to isolate the virus, after three ducks tested positive for bird flu antibodies, reports the AP. I.L.

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