Photo in the News: Bird Flu Reaches Western Europe

Photo: Swans being examined in a lab
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February 13, 2006—A staff member on Italy's epidemic prevention team on February 12 inspects two wild swans found dead near the southern Italian village of Giarre.

Five wild swans found in southern Italy have tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, officials announced on Saturday. Infected wild swans also have been discovered near the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki and the Bulgarian wetland region of Vidin.

So far no human cases of the disease have been reported in these countries.

Health experts remain optimistic that the disease has only appeared in the nations' wild birds and not in domestic animals, which would have more direct contact with people.

"The risk to humans is less if the disease is in wildlife than if it is in poultry," said Juan Lubroth, of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, to the Associated Press.

—Victoria Gilman

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