Three more cases of bird flu found in Stockholm

Three new cases of the highly pathogenic strain of H5 bird flu were confirmed in central Stockholm on Thursday and the wild birds probably carried the H5N1 strain that can kill humans, officials said.

“Three more birds in Stockholm, two swans and a goose, have been found to carry the aggressive strain of bird flu,” Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute said in a statement on Thursday.

“We believe that it is in all likelihood H5N1,” Ulla Carlsson, epizootic disease expert at the institute, told AFP.

So far Sweden has confirmed two cases of the H5N1 strain, in two wild ducks found dead on the country’s southeastern coast in late February.

Earlier this week, Swedish officials confirmed that two wild swans found in the capital last week had died of the highly pathogenic strain of H5.

Samples from those swans were sent on for further testing to determine whether they carried the H5N1 strain. As the three new birds reported on Thursday were found in the same area as the two swans, the three would not undergo further testing.

In total, the Veterinary Institute has confirmed 41 cases of H5 subtype bird flu in Sweden, of which 26 have been found to have died of the highly pathogenic strain of H5.

But so far only the two ducks have been confirmed carriers of the H5N1 strain.

Security measures have been implemented in six areas in Sweden to prevent the spread of the disease, including protection and surveillance zones, though Stockholm residents are largely unaffected by the measures.

The H5N1 strain, in its most aggressive form, has killed more than 100 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.