Dead ducks in Romania raise fears bird flu is spreading

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The Independent Online

Three domestic ducks have died of bird flu in eastern Romania, sparking fears that the Asian virus has hit Europe.

Officials suspect that tests under way in Britain will confirm that the birds were infected with H5N1, the strain of avian flu which experts are tracking for fear it could mutate and spawn a human flu pandemic.

The dead birds were found in the village of Ceamurlia near the Black Sea late last month. Samples were sent to a laboratory in Bucharest, where bird flu antibodies were found. The lab did not have the capability to determine the exact strain of the virus and sent the samples to Britain, where results are expected in the next few days.

Officials have killed nearly all the domestic fowl in Ceamurlia killed and banned hunting in the Danube delta. The movement of people in and out of the village has been restricted and the transport of animals banned. Medical teams were going to administer flu vaccines for residents.