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Bird flu "could arrive in Sweden this spring"

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13:54 CET+01:00
The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu will likely arrive in Sweden with migratory birds in a couple of months, the head of the National Board of Health and Welfare wrote in an opinion piece on

Tuesday.

"It is probable that the bird flu will be discovered among the thousands of migratory birds that will be caught and tested on [the Baltic Sea island of] Öland this spring," according to an article in Dagens Nyheter,co-written by Kjell Asplund, the general director of Sweden's national health

board.

In addition to the danger from migratory birds, which could potentially infect Sweden's tame poultry stocks, Asplund and his co-authors cautioned that smuggled birds or humans already carrying the virus could also bring the deadly bird flu strain into the Scandinavian country.

The H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus has killed about 90 people in Asia, Turkey and northern Iraq and has recently been detected in wild swans in Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Slovenia.

"It is not unthinkable that we soon will have cases of H5N1 even closer to Sweden, and there is a risk that the virus will reach our country," the article stated, going on to call for the deadly bird flu strain to be included on the Swedish list of communicable diseases that must reported to authorities.

"H5N1 is a dangerous disease, both for birds and humans, and needs to be regarded as such," the authors wrote.

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AFP

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