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Poland identifies first cases of bird flu

The country's first two cases of H5NI virus have been detected in wild swans.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 03:50 IST

Poland has detected the country's first two cases of H5N1 bird flu, the Agriculture Minister said on Sunday.

Further tests were being conducted on the wild swans to determine if it is the deadly H5N1 strain, which has reached Poland's neighbours, including Germany, Russia, Ukraine and Slovakia.

Agriculture Minister Krzysztof Jurgiel said the H5NI virus was detected in the swans, which were found dead on Thursday in the centre of Torun.

An EU laboratory in Britain was conducting tests on samples from Poland and results were expected within days, Jurgiel said.

In Brussels, the European Commission said it had been informed by Polish authorities that they were applying a set of EU precautionary measures passed last month for dealing with a bird flu outbreak.

Those measures include ordering poultry indoors within three kilometres of the outbreak as well as intensified food controls for any meat leaving the area.

Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz planned to travel to Torun in the afternoon to be briefed on the matter by authorities on the ground and to reassure the city's residents, government spokesman Konrad Ciesiolkiewicz was quoted as saying by the PAP news agency.

The H5N1 strain has killed dozens of humans in the latest outbreak since 2003, mostly in Asia, in addition to devastating poultry stocks.

Scientists are concerned that the virus could mutate and pass easily between people, sparking a human flu pandemic.

First Published: Mar 05, 2006 20:40 IST