The deadly bird flu virus has spread to northern Europe with the H5N1 strain having been detected in Germany. Austria has also reported cases of the disease, following Italy and Greece last week. Samples are being sent to the UK for final confirmation.
German Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer says there is no time to waste: “All possible means will be discussed and if necessary implemented so that a transmission from wild birds to farming livestock can be prevented. That is the most crucial point at the moment.”
The two dead Swans were found on the Baltic island of Rügen, a discovery that will strengthen speculation the disease will spread north and west as migration begins this spring. The Germans are expected to bring forward a ban on keeping poultry outdoors, while Italy says i has impounded more than 80,000 chickens from farms in the south that were not respecting health regulations.
Bird flu has killed 91 people worldwide, most of them in Asia. The disease is also present in the Middle East and Nigeria. Scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form that transfers easily from human to human, triggering a global pandemic.