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ARMENIAN HEALTH AUTHORITIES BRACING UP FOR POTENTIAL BIRD FLU OUTBREAK

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 10, ARMENPRESS: Armenian health authorities have developed a national program of measures to withstand a potential outbreak of bird flu and will send it to government approval. Cases of bird flu reported last week by Romania and Turkey have increased fears that it may reach Armenia.

Lilit Asatrian, head of a health ministry department, said experts fear the H5N1 virus could mutate into one which spreads easily among humans, creating a pandemic that might kill millions. Last week Turk television quoted Turkish farm minister Mehdi Eker as saying bird flu had been discovered in Turkey for the first time. The television station said turkeys had died of the disease on a farm in Balikesir province near the Aegean Sea in western Turkey.

According to Lilit Asatrian, examinations were conducted in all large poultry farms in Armenia to identify their readiness in case of an outbreak of the disease. She said agricultural ministry has promised to report about any case of birds deaths.

Asatrian said there is a lot has be done to be prepared for the disease’s possible spread into Armenia-to set up laboratories and prepare personnel. She said Armenian health authorities expect WHO’s assistance to implement the anti-bird flu program.

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