Romanian bird flu not linked to Hungary and Slovakia imports: PM

24-05-2006 | |

Romanian Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu has rejected media claims that an intelligence report blames imported live poultry from Hungary and Slovakia for the current bird flu outbreak.

“I have read the report and I can tell you there is no evidence supporting the idea that this import generated the bird flu epidemic,” said Prime Minister Tariceanu.

Local media, quoting a leaked report by the country’s secret service SRI, reported chicken farms in Transylvania brought sick birds from the two European Union member states.

The Prime Minister said the intelligence agency’s report has no clear evidence proving that the imports of meat and fowl from the two countries triggered the bird flu outbreak. He added that the Sanitary-Veterinary Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture have already begun investigations to establish what triggered the outbreak of the virus.

The report was declassified at the request of the Minister of Agriculture and was posted on the intelligence agency’s Web site. The report does not say that bird flu definitely came from abroad, but says: “The SRI cannot exclude the hypothesis that the outbreak might have been caused by imports of birds.”

The document compiles all recent imports made by several chicken farms in Brasov and surrounding areas, which also include imports from international farms. It notes that farms have imported domestic birds from Hungary, Slovakia and the Netherlands since January, with health and veterinary certificates.

Hungarian and Slovakian authorities have expressly denied the possibility of the virus being spread from their exports.

The confirmed bird flu outbreaks are in the counties of Brasov, Covasna, Vrancea, Bacau, Buzau, Sibiu, Vrancea, Neamt, Prahova and Mures, along with the Bucharest Sector 2 and 4 areas.

Last week, prosecutors issued warrants for the arrest of two owners of the Brasov farms accused of spreading the virus.