ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkey's (search) agriculture minister confirmed the country's first cases of bird flu on Saturday and ordered the destruction of all birds in the village where it was detected to prevent the disease from spreading, the Anatolia news agency said.
Military police have also set up roadblocks at the village near Balikesir in western Turkey, 250 miles from Istanbul (search). The officers checked vehicles to make certain no birds were going in or out.
Cases of bird flu were also confirmed Saturday in Romania, which borders Turkey.
The outbreak was confirmed by Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker (search), who said that Turkish officials had been communicating with the European Union and other international organizations about the outbreak, Anatolia reported. Eker did not specify how many birds died of the disease.
Anatolia, quoting officials, said the birds in Turkey died of the H5 type of bird flu — but it was not immediately clear whether it is the exact strain that health officials are particularly worried about.
"Unfortunately we met with bird flu," Anatolia quoted Eker as saying. "But everything is under control, every kind of precaution has been taken so that it doesn't spread."
There are several strains of bird flu, but only a few are deadly. Experts are tracking a strain known as H5N1 for fear it could mutate and spawn a human flu pandemic.
H5N1 has swept through poultry populations in Asia since 2003, infecting humans and killing at least 60 people, mostly poultry workers, and resulting in the deaths of more than 100 million birds. The virus does not pass from person to person easily.
Health Ministry officials ordered birds in the village destroyed Saturday, saying that farmers would be compensated for their losses, Anatolia said. Stray dogs were also ordered slaughtered as a precaution, though authorities did not explain why.
Eker said the flu was likely carried by birds migrating from the Ural Mountains, which divide Europe and Asia, across Turkey and into Africa.