Avian Influenza
New bird flu case detected in central Italy
Feb 19, 2006 - 3:50:37 PM

A wild duck found dead in central Italy was confirmed to be carrying the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu, raising to 11 the total number of such cases found in the country, the Italian health ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said the duck was found near Lake Trasimeno in the central Italian region of Umbria Feb 13.

Italy reported its first cases of bird flu last week when eight wild swans found in the southern regions of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily tested positive for the virus.

The government has begun to carry out a series of precautionary measures, including the creation of a three-kilometre high-risk protective zone around each outbreak area, and a surveillance zone of an additional 7 km.

Experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that is easily transmitted between humans, thus sparking a pandemic.

Bird flu has spread across Europe, with confirmed cases in Hungary, Greece, Italy, Ukraine and Romania, and suspected ones in Austria and Slovenia.

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