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Turkey Culls Poultry to Check Spread of Bird Flu

Turkey is culling chickens and poultry to prevent the spread of avian flu. Turkish authorities say about 1,500 chickens and turkeys were killed overnight after news of the first outbreak of the disease was reported in the western province of Balikesir.

It is unclear how many birds will be destroyed, but Turkish officials insisted there was no cause for citizens to worry about the country's first reported outbreak of avian flu.

Balikesir Province Deputy Governor Halil Yavuz Kaya said the situation is under control and that a quarantine zone had been imposed around the affected farm. Military police set up roadblocks around the area, checking all vehicles entering and exiting.

About 600 Turkeys were reported dead of avian flu on a single farm near the Manyas Lake in Balikesir.

The lake is a prime destination for migratory birds, and Turkish officials say the disease was likely carried to Turkey by birds from Russia's Ural mountains.

Reports of the actual scope of the threat remain sketchy. Turkish media reports said stray dogs in the region are being put down as a precautionary measure and that the infected area would remain under quarantine for three weeks.

The Reuters news agency reports that H5N1 avian influenza virus has killed millions of birds across Asia and infected 116 people, killing more than 60 of them. There is widespread concern that the virus, currently known to pass to humans from birds, could mutate and be passed from human to human.

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