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EU Earmarks $100 Million To Fight Bird Flu

EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou in Brussels today (epa) 13 January 2006 -- The EU has earmarked $100 million in aid to help countries deal with bird flu ahead of an international donors' conference next week in China.

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner made the announcement in Brussels: "At the conference, the commission will pledge a sum of $100 million, that is 80 million euros."

The pledge comes as health officials cope with a potential pandemic, fears of which were fueled by a recent outbreak of bird flu in Turkey.

Globally, the virus has killed nearly 80 people, most in southeast Asia. But scientists say the human infections have come from direct contact with sick birds -- not from human to human contact.

(compiled from agency reports)