August 6, 2007


H5N1 virus discovered in three wild ducks in Munich


The H5N1 bird flu virus has been discovered in three wild ducks in the Munich area, the Munich rural district council said Friday (August 3).


The three ducks were discovered earlier this week near a lake and Germany's  Friedrich Loeffler Institute Friday confirmed the birds died of H5N1, the Munich rural district council said.


The authorities' main priority will now be to prevent the virus from spreading to poultry birds, the council said, adding that they have imposed a 1-kilometre quarantine zone around the lake and a 3-kilometer monitoring area.


Last month, a wild bird in eastern Germany tested positive for the disease and in June, several wild birds in neighbouring Bavaria and Saxony also tested positive.


It is believed to spread along bird migration routes. The H5N1 strain has decimated poultry stocks since 2003 and killed at least 191 people worldwide, most of them directly infected by sick birds in Asia. Experts fear, however, that the virus could mutate into a form easily transmitted between people.