Stockholm swans had bird flu

Two swans with an aggressive form of bird flu have been found in central Stockholm, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the National Veterinary Institute (SVA) has announced.

One swan was found on the island of Skeppsholmen, just across the harbour from the Royal Palace. Another was found nearby in Nybroviken. The Board of Agriculture is now enforcing protection and observation zones around the places where the swans were discovered.

Restrictions have been introduced to stop the infection spreading to domestic birds.

The regulations will have minimal impact on people in the area, according to the board.

“It is not currently intended to seal off the areas of the finds,” wrote the board and the SVA in a joint press release.

The affected areas will be searched for dead birds, said SVA’s Susanne Sternberg Lewerin, but said there was not an increased risk of the disease spreading to domestic birds.

“There are no domestic animal facilities in Stockholm, so the discovery doesn’t really mean anything. This is simply about two individual infected birds, so it’s not a national problem.”

According to Sternberg Lewerin, the hens at Skansen open air museum are being held indoors, in accordance with the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s rules. In addition, all Skansken’s birds have been vaccinated.

“So the risk of domestic birds being infected in Stockholm is minimal,” she added.

Sternberg Lewerin confirmed that there were no plans to seal off the area where the birds were found.

“I find it hard to believe that would happen, but if there were to be mass deaths of wild birds by the water in central Stockholm, we could seal off the quaysides so that people don’t go into areas where dead birds are being collected.”

She said that people should walk around as usual, but asked members of the public not to report any sightings of dead birds around Stockholm’s shoreline, as the authorities would be actively searching the observation zone.

TT/The Local