Bird Flu Response
Date: Friday, January 13 2006
Europe intensifies response to bird flu threat; WHO urges Turks not to panic
By WILLIAM KOLE
Turkish Agriculture Ministry employees collect a goose for culling in the village of Cebeci, about 10 kms outside Istanbul. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's fast-moving outbreak of bird flu prompted villagers across the border in Georgia to slaughter chickens, geese and ducks en masse Wednesday, while in neighbouring Greece, Georgia and Syria, authorities beefed up border inspections.
In Russia, nationalist legislator Vladimir Zhirinovsky even urged men to grab rifles and shoot migratory birds to keep the virus at bay. The European Union announced it would keep monitoring wild and domestic birds around the 25-member bloc until end of the year, and a Swiss soccer club cancelled a trip to Turkey.
The measures were taken despite assurances by the World Health Organization that there was no reason to panic and no evidence of person-to-person infection.
"The worst situation is a panic situation. There is no reason to panic," said Dr. Marc Danzon, the WHO's regional director for Europe. "There is no transmission from human being to human being through a mutation that could cause a pandemic."