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Swiss raise number of H5N1 cases in wild birds

By Staff
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GENEVA, May 2 (Reuters) Swiss veterinary authorities now consider all 32 wild birds confirmed as having the H5 virus in recent months to have carried the H5N1 form of bird flu, a spokeswoman said today.

The Swiss federal veterinary office has adjusted its official tally to state that although only nine dead birds have been confirmed as carrying H5N1, ''in all likelihood, the other cases are also H5N1''.

''We consider them as confirmed, even if they have not been laboratory confirmed,'' spokeswoman Cathy Maret said.

H5N1, dangerous to humans, was first detected in a duck in Lake Geneva in late February. It has been confirmed in wild birds in four cantons -- Geneva, Zurich, Thurgau and Schaffhausen. ''If H5 is found in a new region we will send the sample for testing to see if it is H5N1,'' Maret said.

No H5 or H5N1 has been found in domestic poultry flocks, which were allowed back outdoors in recent days after being ordered to be shut indoors during the migration of wild birds back north.

REUTERS CH PM1410

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