Swan in German zoo tests positive for H5N1 virus

Friday, August 4, 2006

Black Swan - Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra.

A "highly pathogenic strain" of the H5N1 Avian Flu virus has been detected in a dead Australian black swan, floating in a pond located at the Dresden Zoo in Dresden, Germany. Conflicting reports say that the swan was found on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. The Friedrich Loeffler Institute which specializes in animal diseases confirmed the test results.

"We can confirm that this is the highly pathogenic strain," said a spokesperson for the institute.

Officials have blocked off an area of Dresden approximately 1.9 miles (3km) from the site where the swan was found and have posted observation areas at approximately 6.2 miles (10km) outside the area as a precaution.

For the moment, all birds in the zoo have been confined to their cages and viewing of birds by the public is no longer permitted. The zoo still remains open for business and cleaning efforts have been intensified. Officials have also restricted cats and dogs from roaming areas nearby. There are at least 112 different species of birds, totaling 720, located at the zoo.

In April, H5N1 was first discovered in Germany in a domestic fowl and in wild birds. The last case of H5N1 to turn up in Germany was on May 12, 2006.