Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) is causing more and more alarm around the world. New outbreaks have been reported in Turkey and Eastern Romania. The virus causing the flu was first spotted in Asia and has been spread from there. Even though this is bird flu, 117 human cases have been reported since the first outbreak in December 2003. All the human cases are reported in four countries in Asia: Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.

Domesticated birds may become infected with avian influenza virus through direct contact with infected waterfowl or other infected poultry, or through contact with surfaces or materials that have been contaminated with virus.

The ban on the import of live poultry and feathers from Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan and large parts of Asia was already imposed by the European Commission. Beside these precautions, countries are checking their vaccine stocks to prepare for the possible spread of a long-feared flu virus in Europe. There are fears that migrating birds are carrying the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus from Asia. Scientists warn that the H5N1 virus that appeared in Southeast Asia in 2003 could mutate into a virus that can be transmitted among humans and cause a pandemic.

The European Commission and European Governments are asking the public to report any suspicious bird deaths fearing of a deadly strain of avian flu and in that way join a surveillance project by calling a helpline.