Bird flu edges closer to Berlin as new cases found
3 March 2006, BERLIN - Bird flu edged closer to one of Europe's leading capitals Friday, with three cases of the disease reported in the state that surrounds Berlin.
3 March 2006
BERLIN - Bird flu edged closer to one of Europe's leading capitals Friday, with three cases of the disease reported in the state that surrounds Berlin.
The virus was detected in a coot, a wild swan and a kestrel in the state of Brandenburg, bringing to more than 140 the number of birds infected in Germany.
The feared H5NI virus was also found in a wild duck in Mannheim, a city of 300,000 in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. It was the first such case in a major population centre in Germany.
Officials restricted access within a three-kilometre radius around the site where the bird was found as tests were being carried on the dead animal to see if it carried the highly pathogenic form of H5N1 which can kill humans.
Tough new measures come into force in infected areas in five states over the weekend with cats having to remain indoors, dogs on a leash and access to poultry farms restricted to employees and veterinarians.
The H5N1 virus was first detected in mid-February in wild swans on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and since spread to two other states in the north and two in the south, Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Earlier this week a cat on Ruegen died of bird flu in the first case of a mammal in Europe in which the lethal strain was positively identified.
Experts believe the animal might have died after eating an infected bird, following similar cases in Asia, where the disease surfaced in mid-2003, infecting 174 people worldwide, 94 of whom have died.
The spread of the disease in Germany has been blamed on migratory birds resting on their way from Asia.
Subject: German news