"We must be absolutely prudent, we must be careful, and as a country, we must be at the ready. Following on warnings from the World Health Organization about a possible flu epidemic, we must do our homework. But other than this, there is nothing that we can do. It is not just Turkey but the entire world which if faced with the threat of a flu pandemic. So it is not correct that the situation be presented as being only Turkey's problem."
Speaking about the EU's confirmation yesterday that the strain of bird flu found in Turkey is the deadly H5N1 strain, Akdag said:
"When we participated in the Europe region conference of the World Health Organization, Turkey was pointed to as being one of the countries which had prepared the earliest for the possibility of such an eventuality. The disease which has been identified in poultry animals is only one area of the country. This virus is not extremely contagious, there is no need to panic. Up until now, the number of cases identified worldwide in humans is only 116."