The FAO on Wednesday urged neighbouring countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Iran and Syria to be on high alert, apply surveillance and control measures and ensure that the public is fully informed about the bird flu risk.
  
"The highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 could become endemic in Turkey," FAO said in a statement.
   
Juan Lubroth, senior FAO animal health officer, said the virus may be spreading despite the measures already taken to combat it.
   
"Far more human and animal exposure to the virus will occur if strict containment does not isolate all known and unknown locations where the bird flu virus is currently present," he said.    

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The FAO said Turkey needed to apply "a centrally coordinated and country-wide control campaign based on efficient local actions carried out in a transparent manner". 

"Far more human and animal exposure to the virus will occur if strict containment does not isolate all known and unknown locations where the bird flu virus is currently present"

Juan Lubroth, senior FAO animal health officer

Lubroth said infected poultry should be reported immediately and all internationally recommended control measures should be used in outbreak areas, including bird culling, strict isolation and vaccination.
  
"Veterinary services should have all the necessary political support and financial means to fully investigate and report any suspicion of bird flu," Lubroth said.
   
"They should ensure that poultry owners in regions most at risk are fully aware of disease symptoms and control measures to apply," he said.
   
He added the movement of poultry in outbreak areas should cease unless permitted by veterinarians.