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Britain Confirms H5N1Found in Swan in Scotland
posted by admin on 07/04/06

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old girl in Egypt died Thursday of bird flu, that nation's third human death from the virus since it appeared in the country last month. 

LONDON – Tests confirmed a swan found dead in Scotland had the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, Britain's national farming union said Thursday. 

Britain's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs contacted the union to confirm the result, said Peter Kendall, the union president. An announcement from the department was expected later Thursday, said a spokesman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity in accordance with policies for civil servants. 

The wild swan was discovered last Wednesday at a harbor in Cellardyke, more than 450 miles (725 kilometers) north of London. British government officials have restricted the movement of poultry and are considering whether to expand a two-mile protection zone around the harbor. 

Mr. Kendall said the union was concerned the disease had reached Britain, but cautioned the public to stay calm. "There are no implications for public health or consumers," he said. H5N1 has killed more than 100 people world-wide since 2003 – mostly in Asia. 

The British government's crisis committee met earlier to discuss how to implement contingency plans, Britain's Cabinet Office said. Plans include recommendations to house or isolate domestic birds from wild birds and to keep all birds indoors within a protected zone. One option is a short-term ban on the movement of poultry. Another is to cull some birds. 

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old girl in Egypt died Thursday of bird flu, that nation's third human death from the virus since it appeared in the country last month. Iman Mohammed Abdel Gawad died at Eshmon Hospital, where she had been admitted Wednesday, said MENA, Egypt's official news agency. It quoted state Information service officials as announcing the death. Eshmon is in Menoufia, about 40 miles north of Cairo. 

Ms. Abdel Gawad had been raising poultry at her home and sought medical attention for the H5N1 strain of the virus when she was in serious condition, the officials said. Egypt has confirmed nine human cases of the deadly strain since early March. Two of the people, both women in their 30s, died. Two others have recovered and the rest are still receiving treatment. Egypt discovered its first bird flu case in birds in February. 

The ministerial committee in charge of combating the spread of the flu, headed by Health Minister Hatem el-Gabaly, said in a statement Wednesday that 14 new cases in birds had been detected in six provinces and that all the birds involved there had been culled. It also said 113 people had been examined and proved negative to the virus. In all, bird flu virus has been detected in 19 of Egypt's 26 provinces, the statement said. 

Scotland has a poultry industry worth more than £115 million ($201.6 million), the union said. 

Copyright © 2006 Associated Press

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