Greek Authorities begins systematic disinfection

Authorities began the systematic disinfection Wednesday of a farm on a remote Aegean Sea island where a lone turkey was found to be infected with a strain of bird flu. Greek agriculture and health officials have said the turkey was infected with an H5 virus. They were waiting for the results of tests being carried out at the European Union's laboratory in Weybridge, England, to determine if the bird was infected with the deadly H5N1 strain, which has destroyed flocks and killed 60 people in Asia since 2003.

The sample was sent to Britain late Tuesday and the results are expected to be ready in about a week.

Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis visited doctors and residents of Oinouses, a tiny island of about 500 residents located next to Chios and just off the coast of Turkey.

A team of five experts clad in protective clothing began disinfecting a small farm where owner Dimitris Komninaris last week discovered that some of his 20 turkeys were sick. Komninaris was raising the turkeys for his family's personal consumption.

Late on Tuesday, Bulgaria banned the imports of live fowl, poultry products and eggs from Greece, as well as the transit transportation of poultry loads that have passed through the territories of Turkey, Greece, and Romania. A ban on poultry imports from Turkey and Romania was introduced Oct. 10.

Although Bulgaria is locked between countries with bird flu outbreaks, the Agriculture Ministry in Sofia said Wednesday that so far no suspicious cases have been registered in the country.

Veterinary authorities have examined some 1,300 fowl breeding farms and 104 fowl markets since Oct. 10, but found no signs of infection. They were also testing 11 dead wild birds, but initial checks suggested they had died for natural reasons, reports the AP. I.L.

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