Stockholm and Gothenburg poultry ordered indoors

The Swedish Board of Agriculture has ordered all poultry and tame birds in the country's two metropolitan regions to be kept indoors as of Thursday in a bid to prevent the spread of bird flu, it said.

“Since the outbreak in Russia (of the deadly strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus) the risk is somewhat higher” that bird flu could reach Sweden, the agriculture board’s chief veterinarian Leif Denneberg said in a statement.

The restrictions concern the Stockholm region in the east of the country and the Gothenburg region in the southwest.

Poultry raised for commercial means is to be kept indoors and cannot be given water from ponds or other open-air sources that may have been used by migratory birds.

Other restrictions included a ban on the hunting of wetland birds such as ducks, geese and swans, and a ban on bird fairs, the board said.

The highly pathogenic avian strain of H5N1 that is circulating in poultry and other birds in Southeast Asia has been identified in Croatia, Romania, Russia and Turkey, as well as in at least one parrot held in quarantine in Britain.