German health minister sees 'zero' danger from bird flu

21st October 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 October 2005, BERLIN - German authorities Friday watered down emergency regulations demanding all poultry be kept indoors to prevent spread of bird flu as the country's health minister insisted there was "zero" risk to people from the disease.

21 October 2005

BERLIN - German authorities Friday watered down emergency regulations demanding all poultry be kept indoors to prevent spread of bird flu as the country's health minister insisted there was "zero" risk to people from the disease.

Officials in the eastern state of Brandenburg - considered a high risk area for infected migratory waterfowl from Russia - are allowing farmers to leave geese outdoors as long as they are protected by nets or tarpaulins, the Maerkische Allgemeine newspaper said.

The state's ostrich farmers are also being allowed to leave their birds outdoors, the paper said. Ostrich meat has become popular in Germany over recent years.

Federal Health Minister Ulla Schmidt warned against hysteria over bird flu which has killed over 60 people in Asia but so far cannot be transmitted from human to human.

"The danger to humans is just about zero," said Schmidt in a ZDF TV interview.

Earlier this week Berlin announced that all poultry had be kept indoors from Saturday and that farmers who violated the rule would face fines of up to 25,000 euros.

The regulation is in place through December 15.

DPA

Subject: German news

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