EU agriculture ministers to discuss ways to combat bird flu

EU agriculture ministers on Monday will discuss ways to combat bird flu, including a Europe-wide program to vaccinate poultry, as the lethal H5N1 bird flu virus has spread to six European Union countries.

France, the EU's largest poultry producer, became the latest EU country to report H5N1 cases last week, joining Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy and Slovenia. Outside the bloc, cases have also been confirmed recently in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

France has already announced that some 900,000 birds across the country would be vaccinated against bird flu. However, there is no specific vaccine available against the lethal H5N1 strain, only generic vaccination.

EU ministers will also discuss the economic impact of bird flu on the poultry industry and are set to ask the EU's executive office to help businesses affected by the falling prices of poultry meat, reports the AP.

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