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Spain confirms its first bird flu case

Friday, July 07, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: health news, Natural News, nutrition

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(NewsTarget) The Spanish agriculture ministry confirmed Friday that it has discovered Spain's first case of the H5N1 bird flu strain in a wild bird. The infected bird was sent to a laboratory on Thursday, after being found in a marsh in Salburua Lake near the Spanish city of Vitoria. Spanish authorities said there was no reason for people to be alarmed, and that poultry consumption should not be affected by the announcement.

Since the finding was announced, the transport of domestic birds and the hunting of wild birds has been banned in a 2-mile radius from where the infected bird was discovered. A warning for infected birds has been extended to a 6-mile radius around the area.

Over the last year, several European countries have found birds infected with H5N1-- including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy -- prompting Spanish officials to say that it was "only a matter of time" before the bird flu reached them. As a preventative measure, some bans were implemented, including one on outdoor poultry farming in marshlands.

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said that infection was "strictly veterinary" and would not affect people.

"I would like to make clear to citizens that there is no reason for alarm or for changing habits in our daily life," she said.

While the H5N1 strain has claimed more than 130 lives since 2003, it has mostly infected humans who have had close contact with contaminated birds. But scientists fear that it will mutate in to a form easily spread from human to human in the near future.


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