Poland latest on bird flu hit list

The first Polish case of H5 bird flu has been found in two swans found dead on the banks of the River Vistula in the northern city of Torun.

Government officials say initial tests at the Pulawy test centre have confirmed the presence of the H5 virus, however whether it is the deadly (H5N1) strain has not been confirmed.

Further tests for the H5H1 strain are being carried out in Britain.

According to agriculture minister Krzysztof Jurgiel, Poland is well equipped to deal with the outbreak.

He says Polish authorities have been in contact with the European Commission and the situation is being monitored.

The deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus has spread from Asia to Europe and Africa, infecting 174 people since late 2003, killing at least 94 of them.

Two hundred million birds across Asia, parts of the Middle East, Europe and Africa have died of the virus or been culled.

Experts continue to worry that if the virus acquires the ability to pass easily from person to person, it could cause a pandemic that would kill millions.

More birds are being culled in Romania amid yet another scare in a village there.

New cases in Switzerland have brought the total there to 11, while France has also reported new cases among wild birds.

The French poultry industry is still counting the cost after becoming the first country in the EU to announce bird flu in commercial poultry.

France has the biggest poultry industry in Europe and is facing major problems abroad as well as at home as a result of countries imposing bans on French poultry products.

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