Slovenia has become the latest country to confirm a case of bird flu in a wild swan. It is not yet known if it has the H5N1 strain which can be fatal if caught by humans. The area where the bird was found is less then 10 kilometers from neighbouring Austria, prompting the instigation of tougher border controls. After cases of bird flu were found in Italy, health officials there have announced a range of emergency measures.
There are fears it could mutate, although the virus is confined to birds and some humans who come in close contact with infected fowl. The theory is that eventually the virus could be passed from person to person,causing an international health crisis. The incidence of birds being found with the virus has gradually spread westwards. In response the EU Commission has announced that each new case will immediately trigger an emergency programme including protection zones. Some consumers are unclear over the safety of eating chicken, but experts say that the eating of healthy birds provides no risk to humans.