Bird flu death sparks Swedish vigilance

Bird flu death sparks Swedish vigilance
A Chinese bird farmer holds a pigeon chick. File photo: AP
The Stockholm-based EU disease control centre has warned travellers to stay away from birds on visits to China, after a Canadian fell ill and died of bird flu.

"It is important that everyone understands the importance of avoiding live birds, whether they be chickens or ducks or wild birds," European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) head Marc Sprenger told Sveriges Television (SVT). 

"It's fine to eat chicken and eggs, for example, but only when they've been cooked properly." 

While bird flu was detected among migratory birds in 2006, there have been no reported cases of human contagion in Sweden. In 2007, Swedish authorities ordered that all poultry and tame birds be kept under cover after the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which is lethal to humans, was found in Germany and Poland. The move was designed to protect domestic animals from wild birds coming into contact with their fodder. 

The lethal bird flu strain first emerged in Asia in 2003, and caused hundreds of human deaths, with Indonesia and Vietnam among the worst-hit countries, according to World Health Organization figures.

Canadian authorities said on Wednesday that a patient had passed away after likely being infected on a trip to China.

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