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OIE concerned about Avian Influenza (AI) outbreaks in animals in Turkey

OIE, FAO and the EU sent an expert from the OFFLU (OIE/FAO laboratory network for Avian Influenza) to be part of the WHO/FAO/OIE/EU/ECDC team currently assessing the situation in Turkey.

According to the latest information received from the joint team of experts, as of 8 January 2006 a total of 13 AI (H5) outbreaks have been confirmed by virus isolation in 8 provinces (Igdir, Erzurum, Sanli Urfa, Erzincan, Agri, Bitlis, Yozgat, Ankara), mostly in backyard flocks. Within the Ankara region, AI (H5) virus was isolated in one wild duck. The official notification of the outbreaks by the Turkish authorities is published on the OIE website (www.oie.int)

The World Organisation for Animal Health expresses its concern about the evolution of the situation of AI outbreaks in Turkey.

The OIE is particularly concerned about the very bad weather conditions in Eastern Turkey that make any technical intervention very difficult and that also favour a longer survival of the animal virus in the environment.

Neighbouring countries may also be susceptible to Avian Influenza outbreaks and should therefore increase their levels of surveillance.

The OIE calls the international community for support the Turkey authorities in their action and strongly recommends implementing all classical control methods (stamping out) to stop the animal outbreaks and also to consider the use of vaccination as an additional tool if appropriate.

OFFLU (OIE/FAO laboratory network for Avian Influenza) strongly recommends to collect and to send a maximum of samples in order to analyze the animal virus and be able to exchange this information with WHO laboratories.

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