Romanian authorities confirmed on Sunday the identification of the H5 bird flu virus at a chicken farm in Codlea, Southern Romania, the national TV station TVR reports. It is the first time the bird flu virus is confirmed at a farm in the country as most cases so far were reported in private households.

Come Sunday afternoon, preliminary tests showed the virus was present at a second bird farm on the Codlea farming platform.

Simultaneously, another H5 hotbed was confirmed in the village of Balotesti, Vrancea county in Eastern Romania. The hotbed was identified as a villager found several of the 20 chicken he had bought from the county of Brasov in central Romania a week ago died.

Agricultural minister Gheorghe Flutur announced immediately that the Codlea farm has sold live chicken illegally in the counties of Vrancea, Prahova, Covasna and in seven towns elsewhere. They were sold without proper approval and veterinary checks. Additionally, the Dracom Codlea farm where the virus was first identified did not employ a vet.

Some 340,000 birds will be sacrificed at Dracom Codlea, while bird samples from Dracom Silva and two towns in the county of Brasov, Hurezu and Fagaras, where the H5 virus was also identified lately, will be sent to England to check whether it is the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus. According to minister Flutur, it is likely the checks would confirm it was H5N1.

Vets from across the country have been sent to Codlea to keep the hotbed under continuous supervision, the minister announced. And he said all meat delivered by Dracom ? some 15 tons of chicken ? was confiscated on its way to terminal sellers.

The last bird flu hotbed in Romania had been closed three weeks ago. And in mid-May officials in Brussels were due to announce Romanian chicken exports to EU countries would restart.