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Bird flu virus could be resistant to Tamiflu

Published on 23 February, 2006, Last updated at 05:16 GMT

15th Feb, 2006: BRUSSELS - While problem is rare, there is concern over potential failure of only drug available to treat the deadly disease.

Belgium will keep 76 farms under surveillance as a precaution against more cases of dioxin being found in animal feed but has now lifted its general quarantine, its national food agency said on Tuesday.

The AFSCA agency placed more than 400 farms under quarantine last month after unusually high levels of dioxin were found in a Belgian pork fat ingredient used to make animal feed.

AFSCA spokesman Pierre Cassart said the agency would continue to monitor the 76 farms, most which raise pigs in Belgium's northern region of Flanders close to the country's border with the Netherlands.

Last week, the Netherlands lifted its quarantine on a remaining 127 farms that received feed from Belgium. A handful of farms in Germany are still closed off after the scare broke.

AFSCA has said the dioxin came from the use of an unfiltered ingredient to extract pig fat from the process of making gelatin. The extracted fat was later distributed to producers of animal feed and got into a feed ingredient in October.

The most drastic measures were taken by South Korea, which banned the import of Dutch and Belgian pork meat.

Cassart said any pig coming from the farms still under surveillance that was found to be contaminated would be incinerated after it had passed through the slaughterhouse.

He said he did not know how many contaminated animals had been destroyed in Belgium.

The incident revived memories of the Belgian dioxin scare in 1999 when traces of it were found in chickens.


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