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Friday, October 14, 2005

Still No Romanian Samples

The political dynamics of the bird flu crise are getting more and more obvious:
The results of the tests were expected but it emerged that the samples have not even arrived at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, Surrey. A spokeswoman for HM Revenue and Customs said the delivery was expected later and officials were ready to ensure its swift passage to the VLA.

The VLA had confirmed that the H5N1 virus had been found in poultry in the Asian part of Turkey, sparking fears that the avian flu could spread to Britain.
...
European Commission health spokesman Philip Tod said there had been delays at the Romanian border because of the nature of the parcel's contents.
The older the sample, the less chance of valid tests there are. Bloomberg makes it explicit:
More testing is needed in Romania to determine if the dead birds carried the H5N1 strain of the virus, the form responsible for human deaths, said the commission, the 25-nation EU's executive agency.

``We hope this virus is a low-intensity one,'' Romanian Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur told Realitatea television today.
...
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn is due in Bucharest today to discuss whether Romania's EU entry timetable is realistic. Fellow commissioner Kyprianou said in a Sept. 21 interview that Romania has slid behind schedule in bringing its animal health standards into line with EU rules.
In the Romanian press I had earlier read that the Minister said that there was zero chance that it wasn't bird flu and that the first bird deaths were noticed September 26th. But now reports of dead birds are coming in from Kossovo, so I don't think Romania will be able to avoid the obvious conclusion, and in fact other countries are quarantining poultry from Romania. In Turkey nine people were placed under observation after a bunch of pigeons in their neighborhood died.


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