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YEREVAN, JANUARY 11, ARMENPRESS: Armenian customs service has announced an extra measure today in an effort to block the spread of bird flu from Turkey by imposing a temporary ban on import of a broad variety of Turkey-made goods.

The ban refers to all kinds of chicken meat, eggs, sugar, feather, sausage, meat cans, macaroni , sweets, cakes, flour and some other goods. Meantime the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Wednesday that avian influenza could become endemic in Turkey – where it has already killed three people and infected at least 15 others in 19 provinces – unless strict measures are taken to battle and contain the deadly virus. It warned also that neighboring countries are at risk, and a centrally-coordinated control campaign is urgently needed. FAO has sent a team of experts to Turkey to support the authorities in their bird flu control efforts.

FAO called upon neighboring countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Iran and Syria to be on high alert, to apply surveillance and control measures and to ensure that the public is fully informed about the avian influenza risk.

The potentially lethal H5N1 strain of the disease has already killed at least 76 people in six countries, almost all of which in Asia. Many scientists believe it is transmitted by migratory birds, and fear that the virus may mutate to allow human-to-human transmission, triggering a possible pandemic.

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