The Czech Republic this afternoon reported the discovery of a suspected case of bird flu – the 12th European Union country to be hit by the disease.
The H5 virus was found in a dead wild swan about 100 miles south of Prague.
This afternoon tests from the bird were being sent to a European Commission bird flu laboratory in Weybridge for more tests to check for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.
The Czech authorities have already triggered pre-agreed safety measures. They involve a 1.8 mile-deep “protection zone” around the suspected outbreak area and a “surveillance zone” a further 4.3 miles deep.
In the protection zone, poultry must be kept indoors, all movement of commercial birds is banned except to the slaughterhouse and no meat is allowed to be traded outside the zone.
In the wider surveillance zone the hunting of wild birds is banned and increased health checks must be carried out on farms.
Bird flu has resulted in more than 100 human deaths, mostly in Asia, but the European Commission says there is still no evidence that the disease can be transmitted between humans. All the deaths were from direct contact with infected birds on farmland.
The other EU countries which have already confirmed outbreaks of bird flu are Slovenia, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Sweden, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Italy and Denmark.