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Germany

Germany Tightens Border Checks

Germany is tightening controls at airports and borders to try to prevent illegal animal imports that could bring avian influenza, or bird flu, into the country, Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin said on Thursday. Trittin said that a meeting in Bonn on Wednesday of Germany's crisis unit for preventing animal diseases had concluded there was a problem with illegal imports of animals, animal parts and meat. Controls would be concentrated on flights arriving from places where the virus had been detected such as Turkey and Romania, he said, adding that the government would also step up efforts to make sure people were aware of the dangers. Romania's chief veterinarian and the European Commission said on Thursday a strain of avian flu had been detected in samples from Romanian ducks, which confirms that the virus has arrived in Europe. It is unknown whether it is the H5N1 strain, which has killed or forced the slaughter of millions of birds across Asia and killed more than 60 people. Experts fear H5N1 could mutate into a virus which spreads easily among humans, creating a pandemic.

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