Deadly Bird Flu Strain Hits Sweden

The European Union's reference laboratory has confirmed Sweden's first outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, Swedish authorities said Wednesday.

Deadly Bird Flu Strain Hits Sweden

Experts in neighboring Denmark feared the disease had spread there, too, after a wild bird was found to be infected with an H5 subtype of bird flu. Further tests were needed to confirm it was H5N1. Sweden's National Board of Agriculture said tests of samples sent to the EU facility in Weybridge, England, turned out positive for the virus that has killed dozens of people in Asia and Turkey.

"The laboratory in Weybridge has now confirmed that it is an H5N1 virus, just as we thought," Berndt Klingeborn, of the National Veterinary Institute, said in a statement. The result was expected after Swedish authorities announced Feb. 28 that two wild ducks in southeastern Sweden were infected with the H5 subtype of bird flu. Since then another 25 birds have tested positive for the same virus.

Klingeborn said the EU result suggested all of them were carrying the H5N1 strain, but Sweden would conduct its own tests to confirm that. In the Danish capital, authorities announced a dead buzzard found on a beach in southwestern Denmark was infected with bird flu of the H5 subtype. Experts assumed it was the H5N1 strain, but were awaiting confirmation from the EU lab next week.

Authorities had expected that bird flu would spread to Denmark after the virus was found in neighboring Sweden and Germany. The buzzard was found in Svinoe, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Copenhagen.

The virus has killed 98 people in Asia, the Middle East and Turkey since 2003, according to the World Health Organization. Experts fear it may mutate into a form passed easily between people and spark a pandemic.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16