TURKEY - Avian flu is reported by local farmers to have caused losses of well over one million poultry in the western province of Balikesir.
Some 1.5 million chickens have died due to an outbreak of bird flu that recently struck the Bandirma district of Balikesir province, according to local farmers' estimates, according to Today's Zaman.
The crisis is ongoing in the area, where chickens are still dying on certain farms in the Edincik neighbourhood of Bandirma. The area has been sealed off and only vehicles with official police or gendarmerie plates are allowed entry and exit once disinfected. The 1.5 million birds reportedly either died from the virus or were destroyed.
In the quarantined areas, farms and egg production facilities in addition to storage facilities were closed down, while a quail farm decided to close down voluntarily.
Earlier this week, Health Minister, Mehmet Müezzinoglu, acknowledged that his ministry was on alert following the outbreak in Bandirma.
According to the Dogan news agency, the Band?rma Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Livestock launched an investigation in Edincik after the death of around 40,000 chickens within four months. Samples from the chickens were sent to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock's laboratory in Istanbul, where tests found that the mass deaths of the chickens were due to bird flu.
In a statement on 2 May, District Governor Ali Manti said security measures have been increased at the farms where the deaths took place and that the remaining chickens there were euthanised.
According to Today's Zamat, he said: “Entering and leaving the neighbourhood has been prohibited except for official vehicles. The samples were sent to the laboratory in Pendik. According to the tests, bird flu was detected. All necessary protective measures were taken in the farms where bird flu was detected.”
The report adds that, as of 4 May, only 70,000 chickens were believed to have died due to the outbreak.