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Sweden acts after German bird flu outbreak

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08:34 CET+01:00
Swedish authorities on Tuesday said they would order all poultry and tame birds to be kept under cover after the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which is lethal to humans, was found in Germany and Poland.

The Swedish Board of Agriculture said that starting Wednesday it would require that all poultry in the southern half of the country be kept indoors and that birds like ducks and geese, which are held outside, be fed under a roof to prevent wild birds from coming in contact with their fodder.

The agency, which also said it would temporarily ban bird exhibitions and competitions, said the rule tightening was "a cautionary measure" afterseveral cases of aggressive bird flu had been reported nearby.

The H5N1 strain was found among birds kept in Brandenburg outside Berlin, according to German media reports at the weekend.

Nearby Poland has also been hit by a fresh outbreak at several poultry farms, according to veterinary authorities.

Sweden's Scandinavian neighbour Denmark announced Monday it would increase security levels for the keeping of poultry and other birds.

In 2006, Sweden reported several cases of H5N1 in birds.

The lethal bird flu strain first emerged in Asia in 2003, and has caused more than 200 human deaths, with Indonesia and Vietnam among the worst-hit countries, according to World Health Organisation figures.

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