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Ministers say no panic justified over avian influenza in Cyprus
2005-10-19 15:01:06

Nicosia, Oct 19 (CNA) - Cypriot Ministers of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Timmy Efthymiou and Health Andreas Gavrielides reassured today at a joint press conference that no panic in Cyprus over the avian influenza was justified for the time being.

However, Efthymiou said that in Cyprus there was a ''higher risk'' compared to other EU countries for the ''bird flu'' spreading, since migrating birds landed on the island on their way to warmer climates.

He noted that this did not raise the concerns of the authorities, which had already taken all necessary measures.

Gavrielides noted that there were enough seasonal flu vaccinations available to the groups of the population most prone to illness.

The Minister of Health noted that it was important to strictly follow all rules of hygiene in case a person came into contact with raw eggs and birds, including the regular washing of hands, the use of handkerchiefs when sneezing or coughing, healthy nutrition to build up the body's resistance to illness, avoidance of fatigue and stress, plenty of sleep, and cleanliness in areas concentrating large numbers of people.

The Minister of Agriculture said that for the time being hunting would not be prohibited, adding that the hunters could be of service by notifying the authorities about any peculiar deaths of birds.

He added that the authorities were carrying out more tests to diagnose anything unusual around ponds and other waterbeds.

Efthymiou noted that no animal products were being allowed to pass from the Turkish occupied areas to the government-controlled areas of the Republic, or through airports.

He assured that there was no danger from consuming game and eggs, as they were cooked and not raw.

Gavrielides said he would be attending the EU informal meeting of health ministers tomorrow, which would discuss the issue.

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