Sweden confines poultry indoors over bird flu fears
Sweden ordered farmers Tuesday to keep hens and other poultry indoors to reduce the chances of the spread of a new strain of bird flu hitting European poultry farms.
"We are raising the level of protection as a precaution. It cannot be excluded that the current cases of bird flu were spread by wild birds which means the risk to Swedish poultry is considered higher," Swedish Board of Agriculture spokesmwoman Katharina Gielen said in a statement.
Germany, the Netherlands and Britain have had confirmed cases of the highly infectious H5N8 strain of the bird flu virus, fuelling speculation that the outbreaks are linked.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the confirmed cases appear to be similar to a virus that has been infecting birds in China, Japan and South Korea since the beginning of the year, most likely moving from Asia to Europe with migratory wild birds.
No cases of human infection have been detected in Asia or in Europe and the WHO believes the risk of the virus spreading between humans is low.
© 2014 AFP