Sweden discovered six more cases of H5 bird flu

Sweden reported six new cases of wild ducks infected with the H5 bird flu subtype on Thursday, but it was not immediately clear whether it was the deadly H5N1 strain that was confirmed for the first time in the Scandinavian country a day earlier.

About 30 birds have tested positive for the H5 subtype, and Swedish researchers are trying to confirm whether they all carried the deadly strain.

On Wednesday, a European Union reference laboratory in Weybridge, England, confirmed two wild ducks found in southeastern Sweden last month were infected with H5N1.

More tests were needed to determine whether the latest cases, found on the icy shores of the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, were also of the deadly strain, a spokeswoman for the National Veterinary Institute said.

The confirmation of the disease led Sweden's major zoos to start vaccinating their birds as a precaution, which veterinarians said had never happened before in the country.

In neighboring Denmark, the zoo in the capital, Copenhagen, said Thursday it will also start vaccinating more 250 of its birds after authorities confirmed the first outbreak of H5 in Denmark Wednesday.

"It is something we had expected would come to Denmark so we have prepared for this," said zoo chief veterinarian Carsten Groendahl, reports the AP.


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