British officials report bird flu case in Scotland

British officials have reported a case of bird flu in a dead swan in Scotland, authorities said Wednesday, but more tests were needed to determine whether it is the deadly H5N1 strain.

Scottish authorities confirmed the H5 subtype of bird flu in the swan, which was found in Fife, a Scottish county more than 450 miles (725 kilometers) north of London. It was the first H5 case reported in the United Kingdom.

The H5N1 strain has killed more than 100 people worldwide since 2003, mostly in Asia.

Charles Milne, the chief veterinary officer for Scotland, called the discovery an "important development" and imposed a protection zone around the site, which has not been named, reports AP.

"We are already in a high state of readiness," Britain's Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds said in a statement.

She has canceled a national bird flu exercise which began this week to test the country's response to any outbreak.

"I brought to an end the national avian influenza exercise to ensure that we can bring all our resources to bear on this situation."

Officials have set up a 3 km (1.8 mile) protection zone in Fife, eastern Scotland.

Bird flu remains essentially an animal disease, but can infect people who come into direct contact with infected birds, according to Reuters.

O.Ch.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team