Avian Influenza
Poland confirms H5N1 virus in wild swans
Mar 8, 2006 - 4:55:37 AM

European Union newcomer Poland Monday confirmed the presence of H5N1 bird flu virus in two dead wild swans.

"It was the H5N1-type - this is certain," Jan Zmudzinski from the State Veterinary Institute in Pulawy said.

"The molecular biology tests specific for H5 and N1 were positive," he said.

The swans were found March 2 on the banks of the Vistula river in Torun in central Poland, making the case one of the first in Europe in which diseased animals have been discovered in an urban rather than rural area.

On Monday, a third dead swan found March 4 again in Vistula riverbank area, tested positive for the H5 strain of bird flu, dangerous only to birds. Further tests were being conducted to check for H5N1.

Although it is not known to transmit between humans, researchers admit H5N1 may mutate into such a form.

Poland is the tenth state in the 25-member EU to have confirmed the disease. Earlier H5N1 infections were confirmed in Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, France, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia and Sweden.

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