Swan with bird flu came from outside UK

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A dead swan which tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu came from outside the UK, government scientists have confirmed.

DNA tests showed the dead swan, found in the coastal village of Cellardyke in Fife, was part of a whooper population which migrates from Scandinavia, and northern Russia.

The first UK occurrence of bird flu now looks more likely to be an isolated case.

Professor Hugh Pennington, one of the country's leading microbiologists, said: "This is good news because if it was a mute swan, the fear was that it had been mixing with other birds and passing on the virus.

"This whooper swan probably came from Germany and may have died off the Scottish coast as it struggled across the sea. This raises the likelihood that it had no contact with any native birds and that this case of H5N1 on our shores was a one-off."

No other birds have tested positive for H5N1 since the whooper swan was found in Cellardyke.