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EU vaccine alert after lethal bird flu virus found in Turkey

The European Union health chief recommended today that all EU citizens be offered a seasonal flu jab as a precautionary measure to deal with a possible bird flu pandemic.

The proposal was made after scientists in Surrey confirmed that the bird flu virus isolated from dead birds at a Turkish poultry farm was the lethal H5N1 strain, responsible for more than 60 human deaths in Asia.

The discovery, suggesting that the virus is moving ever close to the borders of Europe, was made at a laboratory in Weybridge, where a sample of the avian flu virus arrived for testing last night amid high security.

"We have received now confirmation that the virus found in Turkey is avian flu H5N1 high pathogenic virus," said Markos Kyprianou, the EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 13th, 2005 at 08:57:11 AM EST

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