"We will cull nearly 1,500 chickens, ducks and turkeys in that area. A 25-man team is carrying out this work," the governor said.

 

Veterinary experts were making tests to determine whether the virus was the deadly H5N1 strain.

   

Last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed four deaths in Turkey from H5N1 - all of them children from the town of Dogubayazit near the Iranian border in Turkey's impoverished east.

   

Eight other Turks tested positive for the H5N1 strain but recovered, according to WHO data. More than 160 people worldwide have died of the virus since 2003.

 

Scientists fear the H5N1 virus could mutate to a form easily transmitted from human to human. As people would lack immunity, it could then sweep the world, killing millions, they say.