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 U.S. Department of    Homeland Security
Headlines: Influenza News
April 5, 2006, Agence France-Presse

First H5N1 Bird Flu Outbreak on German Poultry Farm

Excerpt from the article:

The H5N1 bird flu virus has for the first time been detected on a poultry farm in Germany, the ministry for social affairs in the eastern state of Saxony said.

The outbreak in Leipzig marked the first time that a poultry farm in Germany had been touched by a form of H5 bird flu since 1959, when the virus was registered.

A spokeswoman for the ministry, Elke Reinking, said Wednesday that a special protection zone of three kilometres (1.9 miles) had been drawn around the poultry farm in Leipzig, where orders have been given to slaughter some 15,000 turkeys.

It was not yet clear whether the disease detected in dead turkeys on the farm on Tuesday was the highly pathogenic form of H5N1 which can prove fatal to humans, the ministry said.

This feared strain has since February been found in wild birds in seven of Germany's states, stretching from the Baltic Sea to Lake Constance on the Swiss border.

It reached Berlin late last month when a dead buzzard found on the balcony of an apartment block in the capital was confirmed to have had this form of the virus.

Three cats and a stone marten on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen were also infected with the most dangerous form of H5N1, which has been responsible for more than 100 human deaths, mainly in Asia, since 2003.

The discovery of the disease in mammals sparked fears here that it could spread to humans more easily, but World Health Organisation experts have said this seemed unlikely.

The country's poultry industry complained last month that it has already lost millions of dollars because consumers were scared to eat poultry.

Reinking said the outbreak in Leipzig marked the first time that a poultry farm in Germany had been touched by a form of H5 bird flu since 1959, when the virus was registered.

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