Turkey: Bird flu returns, minister rules out risk

Published 02.06.2015 14:44

Bird flu, a deadly virus affecting poultry, was discovered at a farm in the northwestern province of Bursa on Monday. Some 100,000 chickens were culled while Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said the disease does not pose a risk to consumers as the ministry has measures in place.

Authorities placed the farm in Bursa's Balabancık village under quarantine after 2,500 chickens died in two days. After an examination, officials ordered the culling of the remaining chickens on the farm. An investigation is still underway while media reported that the area quarantined may be expanded if the epidemic is found to affect a wider area.

Müezzinoğlu assuaged concerns of bird flu and told reporters that the public should not be worried about the consumption of chicken, eggs and related dairy products. "A risk is out of the question," he said. The minister said rising temperatures would lead to a decline in bird flu cases. He added that the ministry had taken measures in Balıkesir, Kocaeli and Kastamonu as well as other cities where bird flu cases have been discovered. "We have quarantines in place as well as other measures," he said.

Bird flu first infected humans in 1997 and has spread through Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. It has caused hundreds of human deaths since then, but human fatalities have subsided in recent years. In Turkey, bird flu dealt a blow to the poultry industry between 2006 and 2008 with hundreds of outbreaks across the country.

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