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13 October 2005 -- Romania's agriculture minister has said a strain of bird flu virus has been found in the country.

Chief veterinarian Ion Agafitei said scientists detected the H5 virus in samples taken from three birds found dead in the Danube Delta.

In a statement, the European Union Commission confirmed the conclusion and said it will ban the import of live birds and poultry products from Romania although the EU said "further tests are necessary to ascertain if the virus in question is the H5N1 strain," which has killed more than 60 people in Southeast Asia since 2003.

Health officials are concerned the H5N1 virus may acquire the ability to pass easily from person to person, resulting in an influenza pandemic that could kill millions of people in a matter of months.

Yesterday, the European Commission said a team of its health experts had so far not found evidence of bird flu in Romania.

(Reuters/AFP/AP)

See also:

WHO Official Talks About Transmission, Treatment Of Avian Flu

International Conference Aims For Coordinated Response To Bird Flu
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