Birds on Gotland have flu

Two new cases of the highly pathogenic H5 bird flu virus have been confirmed in ducks in Sweden, bringing the total number to 12, the National Veterinary Institute (SVA) said on Friday.

SVA “has analyzed tests from two tufted ducks found near Sjaustru in the east (of the island) of Gotland. This morning (Friday) it was confirmed that they were carrying the highly pathogenic form of the H5 bird flu virus,” the institute said in a statement.

The latest finding brings the number of confirmed cases of H5 in Sweden to 25, of which 13 have been proven to be the highly pathogenic form of the virus.

The other cases of the virus have been found along the Scandinavian country’s southeastern coast, across from the Gotland island.

Researchers have however yet to determine whether the Swedish ducks died from the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, which in its most aggressive form has killed 100 people worldwide.

Definitive test results on the first two H5 cases detected last week are expected back from a British laboratory in the next few days.

“The Swedish Board of Agriculture will today introduce security and surveillance zones to stop the virus from spreading to poultry stocks,” SVA said.

Highly pathogenic H5 virus was found earlier this week in a greater scaup in Karlskrona, in the south of the Swedish mainland, and in three tufted ducks in Oxelösund, 120 kilometres south of Stockholm. The first cases in Sweden were noted in tufted ducks near Oskarshamn, on the east coast.