BERLIN, Feb. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- The German army deployed Sunday a special unit
on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen, where over 40 cases of the deadly virus of
H5N1 have been found, to intensify the fight against bird flu.
Defense officials said that they had dispatched a 19-member unit
specializing in handling decontamination to help defuse the spread of the virus.
The ABC unit has already set up their equipment and planned to start
disinfecting both vehicles and people on the island, which was declared a
"protected zone," according to German news agency DPA.
The sale and transport of poultry is banned for 21 days on the island, which
has emerged as a major tourist destination in recent years.
Federal officials in Berlin said a mass culling of poultry on Ruegen has been
underway to halt the virus from infecting domestic birds. The island is part
of the east German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The moves came after calls from state Minister for Agriculture Till
Backhaus and federal Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer for every effort to be
made to prevent the virus from spreading to other parts of Germany.
Backhaus said, "We are facing an extremely serious situation."
The two ministers criticized local officials for their slow response to
evidence that birds on the island had been infected bythe deadly virus and
failure to take actions to stop its spreading.
Firemen have also been deployed to collect the carcasses and every dead
bird has been required to be picked up and sent to labsfor testing.
The public is warned not to touch any dead animals as the H5N1 virus could
kill human beings.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to the island on Sunday not as the
leader of the nation but as the parliamentary representative of the region which
forms part of her electorate. Enditem