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February 15, 2006

Bird Flu Threat Grows In Europe

Topics: Health Issues

The deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has been confirmed in swans in Austria and two dead birds in northern Germany have preliminarily tested positive for the disease. These cases mark the disease's continued progression west across Europe. If the German cases, on the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea, are confirmed, they would bring the virus to within about 650 miles of British shores, the closest it has yet come, other than in quarantined birds. On Saturday the disease was confirmed in Italy, and also in Greece and Bulgaria.

The spread of the virus has resulted in European Union veterinary experts backing plans to boost surveillance of migratory birds and stricter bans on imports as officials have scrambled to find ways to curb the spread of the deadly bird flu in Europe. But Europe's concerns over the H5N1 virus almost pales in comparison to Africa's.

Experts have long feared that if H5N1 reached Africa, it could quickly take hold and spread out of control, and apparently, it may already there.

Readers will find an excellent interactive map on the spread of the H5N1 virus at BBC News.

Hyscience has numerous posts with an abundance of information and background on the H5N1 virus and the H5N1 bird flu.

Down under in Austalia, more dire predictions: Bird flu could kill 214,000 Aussies - Fairfax newspapers report that a serious worldwide outbreak of avian flu could kill up to 214,000 Australians, according to new projections by experts. The research shows the world death toll from a disastrous bird flu pandemic could be as high as 142 million, or 2.2 per cent of the earth's population.

Related: Bird flu: Country preparations

Posted by Richard at February 15, 2006 3:19 PM

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