Switzerland detects first bird flu case

Geneva - Switzerland on Thursday reported its first case of bird flu in two years, after diagnosing a wild duck with the H5N1 virus, said the Swiss federal veterinary department.

The virus - which can be deadly for humans - was detected in a wild duck on Lake Sempach, near Lucern, during a regular detection programme in which 200 specimens obtained from birds were tested.

The duck shows no symptoms of the disease, said the office, adding that the detected virus is almost identical with those detected in Europe in 2007.

Protective measures put in place since October 2007 remain in place, and "additional measures such as a ban on free-range poultry is not necessary at this time", said the office in a statement.

The risk of transmission to farmed poultry is small, indicated the office.

This case brings the total number of H5N1 cases detected in Switzerland to 33.

Previous cases were detected in February and March 2006 in wild birds found dead in the Lake Leman and Lake Constance regions.

Earlier in 2008, wild swans tested positive for the strain of bird flu in south-west England.

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