Sweden is the latest European country to be struck by bird flu. A duck found dead east of Stockholm has tested positive for the disease. It is too early to say whether it had the lethal H5N1 strain of the virus. Meanwhile an examination of wild swans that died in Croatia showed they were infected with H5N1. Croatian authorities have begun a mass cull of poultry. In Britain, the government has called for a ban on wild bird imports to the EU after avian flu was discovered in a parrot that died in UK quarantine.
Currently imports are only prohibited from countries with confirmed bird flu cases. British scientists are pressing on with tests on the parrot to establish whether it had the deadly variant of the disease. Chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds said: “All the birds that come in from outside the European Union come into quarantine and we picked up the avian flu virus in the UK quarantine system. The UK’s disease-free status for avian flu is not altered here.”
H5N1 has killed more than sixty people in Asia since appearing two years ago. Most of the European cases have been concentrated in the southeast, but there have been no human casualties so far. Thousands of birds have been culled in South East Asia, Russia, Romania, Turkey and Greece.