Greece confirms first case of bird flu

Authorities in Greece confirmed the country's first case of bird flu Monday, the first in the European Union, on a turkey farm on the Aegean Sea island of Oinouses, near the Turkish coast. Agriculture Minister Evangelos Basiakos said the turkey came from a small private poultry farm of about 20 turkeys on the tiny island of Inousses off Chios which belongs to the Chios prefecture.

Preliminary tests have identified bird flu and narrowed down the virus to the H5 type, but more rigorous testing is being conducted to determine whether it is the deadly H5N1 strain that scientists are tracking for fear it could mutate and spawn a lethal human flu pandemic capable of killing millions.

According to Basiakos, the owner of a small turkey farm with 20 birds informed the local veterinary service about "the presence of strange symptoms and losses among the turkeys."

A veterinary team from the nearby island of Chios traveled to Oinouses, a five-square-mile island with a population of about 700 people, and took samples from the suspect birds, CBS/AP reports.

Tests carried out in Athens found that one of the nine samples tested positive for the H5 virus. The ministry ordered that new samples be taken and sent to a central veterinary testing center in the northern port of Thessaloniki as "there is a pressing need for verification of the analysis."

Neighboring Turkey, only a few miles off Chios, has also detected cases of bird flu as well as Romania, both of which have culled thousands of birds in the past days, according to Reuters. A.M.

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