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Denmark says tests confirmed H5N1 in wild bird

Written by: Staff
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COPENHAGEN, Mar 16 (Reuters) Danish authorities said today that tests showed a wild buzzard found south of Copenhagen carried the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu virus.

Denmark's first case of the highly pathogenic bird flu virus was announced yesterday.

''It is H5N1,'' spokeswoman Gudrun Christensen for the Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research told Reuters.

The Institute said in a statement that it would send the virus to the European Union's laboratory in Britain for further verification and that it would maintain precautionary measures at the location where the bird was found.

Danish authorities would also investigate if the virus was related to other finds in Europe and Asia.

The test results came a day after neighbouring Sweden said tests showed that two wild ducks found on its east coast carried H5N1, its first confirmed cases of the deadly strain. Around a dozen wild birds have been found in Sweden with the H5 virus.

The dead buzzard was found earlier this week near the town of Naestved, about 70 km south of the Danish capital Copenhagen in the southern part of the island of Zealand in a wetland area with many migrating birds.

Authorities have set up a 3-km quarantine zone and a 10-km surveillance zone around where the infected bird was found.

They have ordered that poultry and eggs must not be transported out of the area, domestic fowl inside the zones must be kept indoors, banned hunting in the zones and undertaken to inspect all poultry in the quaratine zone.

Denmark, a poultry producer with an output worth 3 billion Danish crowns a year, has been on guard against bird flu since the disease was found on the German Baltic island of Ruegen, near Denmark's southern coast, in mid-February.

REUTERS SY PM1837

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