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France: bird flu in deaths of 2 swans

Two swans found dead in eastern France died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

The two swans were found dead Sunday night not far from the location where three swans were killed by the virus earlier this month. The swans were found in an area known as Diane Capelle, in the Moselle region, some 9 miles from the site where three swans died of bird flu in early July. Moselle's prefecture extended measures to protect domestic fowl from wild birds that had been put in place after the first case of swan deaths, the statement said. A wild bird in eastern Germany tested positive for the disease this month. Last month, several wild birds in neighboring Bavaria and Saxony also tested positive.

Bird flu is believed to spread along bird migration routes, and the H5N1 strain has been found in poultry farms in three other EU countries this year: Hungary, Britain and the Czech Republic, the European Commission has said.

France experienced a bird flu scare after an outbreak of the lethal disease in February 2006 in the eastern Ain region. It was quickly contained and a vaccination campaign of fowl was launched. However, dozens of countries briefly suspended imports of fowl and luxury items like foie gras from France. (chron.com)