Avian flu confirmed in North Cyprus

The North Cyprus Tourism Centre in London is stressing it is ‘business as usual’ for tourism to the destination following the discovery of a case of avian flu.

A single case of the H5N1 virus has been confirmed in poultry in the small village of Incirli, which is south of Famagusta near the border with South Cyprus, and miles away from the nearest tourist resort area.

The North Cypriot authorities have been taking all necessary precautions since last year, including restricting the hunting season which was due to open in early January. All poultry within a 10Km radius of the incident has been rounded up and properly disposed of.

The border with Southern Cyprus has not been closed, and there are no human infections.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office says that the risk from Avian Influenza is: ‘very low, provided you avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds’.

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Holidaymakers are also warned to ensure that poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.

The director of the North Cyprus Tourism Centre, Mr Bengu Sonya said: “We would naturally caution any visitors as well as local people to avoid coming into contact with birds of any kind for time being, and we are confident that the local authorities have acted very quickly to isolate this single outbreak.”

Mr Sonya also added that once the migration of birds has concluded within the month of February, there will be no further concern for avian flu for the tourist season of Summer 2006 “.
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