Joan Collins THE head of the Pneumonia department of Son Dureta hospital, Alvaro Agusti, said yesterday that, in his opinion, “it wouldn't be long” before bird flu arrived in Spain, as it has arrived in other European countries. However he did add that in the European Union (EU) the problem up to now has been exclusively confined to the animal kingdom. Nevertheless, in line with all the other autonomous regions, the Balearics had taken delivery of antiviral vaccine some months ago for hypothetical human outbreaks of the disease. After speaking at a press conference about a new technique which the hospital is now offering for respiratory illnesses, the doctor was asked about bird flu. In his reply he said that the disease will probably come to Spain within a short time. However, he pointed out that, for the moment, the disease has been confined to birds. Nevertheless, in spite of this, Son Dureta, in common with all other hospitals, is being “vigilant” as a precaution, although to date there have been no cases of humans being infected by this disease within the EU. Elsewhere, Margalida Moner, the Balearic Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, when asked about bird flu, had this to say. “We are applying all the protocols dictated by Brussels. “These include the analysis of blood samples taken from both wild and domestic birds as well as other measures of prevention. “We have also taken more precautionary measure than those required of us. “At the moment we don't have the problem here and there is no cause for alarm”. She went on to say “And, if the virus does come to the Balearics, we will apply the necessary measures. However, even if there is a case of bird flu confirmed in the islands, consumers can remain calm and keep buying poultry products. “The controls which are in place are strict, whether there is a risk of the disease or not. At the moment we have not noticed a drop in the sales of poultry products,” she added.