US embassy cable - 06NICOSIA116

CYPRUS: H5N1 CONFIRMED IN A CHICKEN AND A TURKEY IN NORTH

Identifier: 06NICOSIA116
Wikileaks: View 06NICOSIA116 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Nicosia
Created: 2006-01-30 15:04:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: KFLU EAGR EAID KSCA TBIO KSTH WHO AMED
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNC #0116/01 0301504
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301504Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY NICOSIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5461
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS IMMEDIATE 3469
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA IMMEDIATE 4514
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 1113
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0399
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN IMMEDIATE 0375
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 0422
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT IMMEDIATE 4100
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS IMMEDIATE 2030
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 0150
UNCLAS NICOSIA 000116 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KFLU, EAGR, EAID, KSCA, TBIO, KSTH, WHO, AMED, 
CASC, PREL, CY 
SUBJECT: CYPRUS: H5N1 CONFIRMED IN A CHICKEN AND A TURKEY 
IN NORTH 
 
REFS: (A) NICOSIA 76 (B) NICOSIA 74 (C) NICOSIA 50 (D) 
NICOSIA 34 (E) 05 NICOSIA 1914 (F) 05 NICOSIA 1866 (G) 05 
NICOSIA 1836 (H) 05 NICOSIA 1740 (I) 05 NICOSIA 1676 (J) 
05 NICOSIA 1591 (K) 05 NICOSIA 1488 
 
1. (SBU) On January 29, the EU reference laboratory at 
Weybridge in the UK confirmed the presence of the H5N1 
virus in two samples of chicken and turkey found in the 
Turkish Cypriot administered area of Cyprus (ref A).  Two 
European Commission veterinary experts arrived late 
January 29 for a three-day visit to provide advice and 
assistance to the Turkish Cypriot authorities.  At the 
invitation of the USAID-financed, UNDP-administered ACT 
program, a WHO health official will meet with both Greek 
Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot veterinary and health experts 
on February 1, the first time health authorities from 
both sides will have direct contact.  There have been no 
other confirmed cases of H5N1 on Cyprus, either in 
poultry or humans.  A Greek Cypriot woman, who had 
recently returned from Turkey, checked into a hospital in 
the south with flu-like symptoms.  Tests for AI, however, 
were negative. 
 
2. (SBU) The two birds were discovered on January 12, in 
the small village of Incirili (Maykrasykas in Greek) in 
eastern Cyprus and just north of the UK Sovereign Base 
Area (SBA) of Dhekelia (and approximately 20 kms west of 
Famagusta).  Turkish Cypriot veterinary authorities sent 
samples for testing to Turkey on January 19 (the samples 
did not arrive in Weybridge until January 27).  When 
preliminary tests came back positive for an undetermined 
strain of AI on January 23, Turkish Cypriot authorities 
culled all poultry in Incirili (Maykrasykas) and treated 
the village with disinfectant (ref A).  According to the 
head of the Turkish Cypriot veterinary service, Ersan 
Korudag, experts have destroyed and buried 1,200 birds 
from 51 homes. 
 
3. (SBU) According to Korudag, extra precautions had been 
extended to all villages under Turkish Cypriot control 
within 10 kms of Incirili.  These include Duzce (Athna or 
Akhna in Greece), Bayarmudu (Pergamos), Turkmenkoy 
(Kondea), Cayonu (Kalopsidha), Korpulu (Kouklia) and 
Akdogan (Lysi) as well as one small egg farm and one 
small chicken farm.  These measures included banning 
poultry from entering or leaving, applying disinfectant, 
and strict enforcement of the rule that all poultry must 
be confined in pens or indoors to prevent interaction 
with migratory birds. 
 
4. (SBU) A significant part of the 10km zone around 
Incrili falls in the UK Eastern Sovereign Base Area (SBA) 
of Dhekalia.  SBA officials told us January 29 that they 
were working closely with the GoC Veterinary authorities 
and were waiting on further GoC guidance on additional 
steps to take.  They had imposed the GoC practice of 
treating all vehicles crossing into the base from the 
north with disinfectant.  Late January 29, the USAID- 
funded, UNDP-administered ACT program hosted a meeting 
between the EU experts and the Greek Cypriot and Turkish 
Cypriot veterinary experts as well as representatives 
from the UK SBA and UNFICYP (responsible for the buffer 
zone).  It is technically possible that the 3 and 10 km 
zones around a potential AI breakout could simultaneously 
include territory administered by all four of these 
parties. 
 
5. (SBU) A contact at the Presidential Administration 
confirmed to us that the GoC has no plans at this point 
to close down the checkpoints connecting the two 
communities.  Local DG Enlargement representative Andrea 
Batista stressed to us that under the EU's Green Line 
Regulation the GoC can only shut the checkpoints with the 
EU's approval.  Specifically Article 10 of Green Line 
Regulation reads:  "Any change in the policy of the 
government of the RoC on crossings of goods or persons 
shall only become effective after the proposed changes 
have been notified to the Commission and the Commission 
had not objected to these changes within one month." 
 
Article 11 (4) allows for emergency actions 
regarding risks to public and animal health but states 
that the "Commission may in consultation with the 
Government of the RoC apply forthwith such measures as 
are strictly necessary to remedy the situation," making 
the Commission rather than the GoC the primary actor. 
 
SCHLICHER 

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