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EU medical chief says Europe ready for bird flu

icious birds, and the use of anti-viral drugs if needed, in targeted pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis.

To help reduce the impact of possible exposure to bird flu, vaccinations against seasonal flu should be considered, and people potentially exposed should be carefully monitored, the guidelines said.

ECDC believes the risk of poultry workers being infected by the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu virus is low, however the risk of human infection following exposure to other highly pathogenic avian flu, such as H7N7, is higher even though the disease these cause in humans tends to be less dangerous.

The European Union (EU) imposed an import ban on live birds and other poultry products from Croatia, Romania, Russia and Turkey following outbreaks of avian flu in these countries in recent months.

A raft of biosecurity measures have been introduced in the EU to guard against the spread of bird flu. National authorities of the EU member states were ordered to regularly reevaluate the high-risk areas and apply appropriate protection measures.

The deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, which has so far only been transmitted from birds to humans, has killed 69 people and infected more than 130 around the world. Health experts have warned of a catastrophic global pandemic if the virus mutates into a form that easily passes among people.
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