The presence of the deadly bird flu infection has been confirmed in Greece, Bulgaria and Slovenia by the European Union. Reassurance steps have been initiated by the Italian following detection of the infection in dead swans, last week .
The EU confirmed that samples sent to its reference laboratory in Britain after a first analysis by local research institutes confirmed the H5N1 strain of bird flu in Slovenia, Bulgaria and Greece.
A spokesman said that in keeping with EU rules, national authorities in EU members Greece, Slovenia and Italy had established a three-km protection zone and a 10 km surveillance zone around the area where the infected swans were found.
Poultry within the protection zone must be kept indoors and any movement of birds is banned except where they are being brought directly to the slaughterhouse.
The EU said that imports of poultry and poultry products from non-EU member Bulgaria were already banned and that the restrictions would be further extended to cover live poultry and birds as well as eggs and unprocessed feathers from the affected areas.
The EU's top veterinary experts are set to meet in Brussels on Feb 16 to analyse the situation.