Avian Influenza
First case of H5N1 virus confirmed in Britain
Apr 7, 2006 - 3:44:37 AM

The first case of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu was confirmed in Britain Thursday following tests on a decomposed swan floating in the harbour of a Scottish town.

The official confirmation came from the Scottish Executive, the regional parliament in Edinburgh.

The infected bird, thought to be of a native breed, was recovered from the harbour at Cellardyke, on the southeast coast of Scotland March 29.

It was tested at the European Union (EU)'s bird flu laboratory in Weybridge in southern Britain.

Prime Minister Tony Blair Thursday urged the public "not to panic" following confirmation of the H5N1 strain.

The government's crisis management committee, known as Cobra, said bird flu contingency plans had been reviewed and "all relevant steps" were being taken.

Meanwhile, officials in the Scottish city of Glasgow Thursday said two dead swans found in a city park were sent for tests.

Britain's National Farmers Union said the infection was an "unwelcome development", but stressed that poultry farmers were "well prepared".

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