15 wild swans killed by bird flu virus in France

The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed 15 wild swans in southeastern France where two wild ducks and a turkey farm were contaminated by the disease, the Agriculture Ministry said.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 04:45 IST

The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed 15 wild swans in southeastern France where two wild ducks and a turkey farm were contaminated by the disease, the Agriculture Ministry said.

News of the death of the swans, found on Sunday around the numerous ponds that dot the area, underscored the potential for the lethal virus to spread.

On Saturday, authorities confirmed that a nearby turkey farm of more than 11,000 birds had been contaminated, triggering fears of a collapse of the poultry industry in France - the first outbreak of the virus in commercial poultry in the European Union. Some 400 birds had died and the rest were slaughtered.

France, the EU's largest poultry producer, was working to control damage to poultry farmers. President Jacques Chirac, visiting Paris' annual agriculture fair Saturday, urged consumers not to panic, and to keep eating chicken.

First Published: Feb 27, 2006 04:45 IST