Domestic birds in Cyprus are reported to be infected with the H5N1 strain, making this the first appearance of the virus in a European Union country, even though the EU rules remain suspended in the northern parts of the island. Northern Cyprus where the infection was detected attracts as many as 1 million UK based tourists annually.
The strain of the virus is said to be the same that claimed four casualties in Turkey. Animal products imports from Turkish Cyprus have already been banned by the EU. Authorities on both the sides of the divided island are taking active measures to prevent the infection from spreading to human beings. As many as 700 domestic birds in the island have already been slaughtered, and the village where it has been reported has been quarantined.
It is being speculated that wild birds flying in from Turkey may have spread the infection in Cyprus also. The UK has military bases close to the island, and the UK Government is reported to be engaged in taking preventive measures, while experts from the EU are investigating the incident.