Europe braces for bigger bird flu outbreak this spring

Fri, Dec. 23, 2005

ISLE OF RIEMS, Germany - No one is worried about the traditional Christmas goose in Europe this year, but health officials are scrambling to prepare for what some believe is the certain arrival this spring of a deadly strain of bird flu in migrating wild birds.

Europe first saw the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain this autumn, with cases discovered among dead wildfowl or small flocks of domestic birds in Croatia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Experts are convinced that those cases are only a warning of what’s to come.

Thomas Mettenleiter, the president of Germany’s leading animal disease center, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, said millions of wild birds left Europe flu-free this autumn to winter in Africa. There they’ll mix with migrating birds from Southeast Asia, where the lethal strain of the virus is far more common.
Source

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