A Romanian poultry farm manager has been arrested on charges of spreading bird flu among animals and plants, court sources said.
Florin Macovei, head of the facility near Brasov, which has been hit by bird flu, was taken into custody after 10 hours of questioning. Macovei also faces charges of making false statements about foodstuffs and tax evasion.
A warrant has also been issued for the arrest Vasile Dardala, owner of a poultry farm at Codlea, the first facility in Romania where the H5 virus was confirmed, and the source of bird flu spreading in central Romania.
The owners of the two farms could face jail sentences of up to 15 years if found guilty.
Romanian Agriculture Minister Gheorghe Flutur said on Friday that the bird flu virus had continued to spread across the country. More than 70 outbreaks have been recorded in Romania since October last year, but so far no human has been infected.
Authorities said they had taken the veterinary officer at Dardala’s farm into provisional custody on suspicion of allowing the sale of living fowl to private farm owners in the full knowledge they were infected.
Bucharest Mayor Adriean Videanu has said there are an estimated 50,000 farm birds in the capital, and that a breeding ban is being seriously considered.