Europe's top health officials were to meet Thursday to discuss how to prevent bird flu from jumping to humans on the continent and plan how to handle it if it does.
The European Union health ministers' gathering at a hotel north of London comes amid fears that the avian virus may be spreading further into Europe.
Bird flu cases have been reported in poultry in Romania and Greece. Russia fears it could also have spread to the European side of the Urals and samples from Macedonia are being tested for the disease.
Health officials fear that if avian flu in birds mutates into a form which is easily spread from person to person, it could explode into a pandemic.