Slovakia confirms first cases of bird flu

An EU lab confirmed Slovakia’s first two cases of H5N1 bird flu, an official said today.

The strain was detected in a white grebe found in the capital, Bratislava, and in a peregrine falcon found in Gabcikovo at the border with Hungary.

Samples sent to the EU reference lab in Weybridge, England, have tested positive, Agriculture Ministry spokeswoman Katarina Czajlikova said.

A two-mile protection zone has been put in place around the spots where the birds were found, she said.

Slovakia is the ninth EU nation with H5N1 in wild fowl.

No human cases of bird flu have been reported in the EU, but scientists fear it could mutate into a form that is easily transmitted between humans, sparking a pandemic.

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