Bird flu infected mink found in Sweden

According to Swedish authorities a mink has been found with a strain of the H5 bird flu virus.

The National Veterinary Institute says the creature was put down as it probably had the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus.

The wild animal was found in the Blekinge area of southern Sweden where several bird flu cases have previously been found and it is thought the mink contracted the disease by eating wild birds which were already infected.

The virus has also recently been detected in a weasel-like mammal, a marten and cats in Germany, and a dog in Azerbaijan.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), says that to date only domestic poultry are known to have transmitted the virus to humans, but has called for further investigation into the significance of infection in other mammals.

The Czech Republic also says it has detected its first case of an H5 form of bird flu in a swan found dead about 150 kilometers south of Prague on March 20.

It is believed the dangerous H5N1 virus could be the culprit and tests are being carried to confirm the diagnosis.

Jan Mladek the Czech Minister of Agriculture says they are anxious that information is as precise and open as possible because of the dangers of bird flu.

The Czech Republic is the only central European country that has not as yet announced a case of bird flu.

The presence of the virus in the neighboring countries of Austria, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia has prompted the Czechs to be well prepared and confirmation that the swan had the disease will mean quarantine zones are placed around the area where the bird was found.

In Iraqi medical authorities are conducting tests for the H5N1 bird flu virus on samples from a man who died in Baghdad.

Two people died from the virus early in the year in the northern province of Sulaimaniya.

China recorded it's 11th death from the virus when a woman in Shangai died last week. The migrant worker's death from the virus is the first in the busy city.

Indonesian officials are waiting on tests to confirm H5N1 infection as the cause of death of a 1-year-old Jakarta girl.

A peregrine falcon found dead in a housing complex in Hong Kong has also tested positive for H5N1, according to officials.

Hong Kong last reported a human case of bird flu in 2003.

The H5N1 bird flu virus can infect humans who come into contact with infected poultry but it remains essentially an animal disease.

According to the WHO, since 2003, the H5N1 virus has been detected in 45 countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

To date 105 people have died after coming into contact with infected poultry, since it re-emerged in late 2003.

Experts have long feared the virus will mutate and become easily transmitted from person to person, sparking a pandemic in which millions could die.

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