Denmark confirms first case of H5N1 bird flu

A European Union reference laboratory has confirmed that a buzzard found dead in Denmark two weeks ago was infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, authorities said Tuesday. The dead bird found near Naestved, southeastern Denmark , on March 14, was the Nordic country's first case of the disease. The EU laboratory in Britain confirmed test results by the Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research showing the buzzard was infected with H5N1.

All EU members send samples to the EU laboratory in Weybridge , England , for final verification. The reference lab said the virus found in Denmark is identical to the one found in Germany and in Poland , the Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research said.

So far, 11 cases of the virus have been found in Denmark . Danish authorities have established protection zones around the different locations where the birds have been found. The H5N1 virus has killed at least 105 people, mostly in Asia , since 2003, according to the World Health Organization. Experts fear it may mutate into a form passed easily between people and spark a pandemic, reports the AP.


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