15 February, 2006
Veterinary services throughout northern Greece remained on high alert for further cases of suspected bird flu on Tuesday, especially in areas that attract large numbers of migratory water-fowl such as ducks, geese and swans.
Water-fowl are considered the highest risk for spreading the virus to domestic poultry since they can be carriers without actually succumbing to the disease and can thus spread the virus over great distances.
Samples taken from dead swans in the Thessaloniki area last week showed that wild birds infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus have migrated south into Greece.
Expert ornithologists said that a duck that tested positive for the virus on Skyros helped them to narrow down the region where the virus originated, since it belongs to an endangered species that winters almost exclusively around the Black Sea.
Meanwhile, two people that were admitted to hospital a few days ago with symptoms similar to bird flu have tested negative for the disease.
Later on Tuesday, authorities announced that two more samples testing positive for the H5 virus had been taken from dead swans in the greater Thessaloniki area, where the first three positive samples were taken. One dead bird was found in the sea of the city coast, about 1000 meters from the shore and the second in Asprovalta.
Both samples have been sent to the Community Reference Laboratory in England for further testing, to see if they contain the deadly H5N1 strain.
The agriculture ministry announced that all required containment measures were taken in the areas where the dead birds were found.
Source: Athens News Agency