First case of H5N1 bird flu in Albania

British lab tests indicate a chicken found dead in a southern Albanian town had the deadly H5N1 strain the Balkan country's first case, the agriculture minister said Wednesday. Agriculture Minister Jemin Gjana told reporters that a dead chicken found in the village of Cuke , Sarande district, 290 kilometers (180 miles) south of capital Tirana, tested positive for the H5N1 bird flu strain according to an analysis made in Britain .

People living in a 3-kilometer area around the infected village would be under quarantine and a team of 12 experts was sent to the district. The minister said all the infected birds would be killed and farmers compensated for them.

Albania has banned poultry imports from Asian and European countries where the strain has been detected. Authorities have also been buying protective clothing and stockpiling antiviral drugs. Citizens are urged to avoid contact with dead birds, and hunting wild birds has been prohibited, reports the AP.


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