Birds test positive for bird flu in Portugal.jpg

Birds test positive for bird flu in Portugal

Portugal has spent more than 60,000 euros so far this year on laboratory analyses to test 6,000 birds and other animals for bird flu. Five ducks and one seagull tested positive, after being in direct contact with other infected birds.

The National Emergency Centre for Avian Flu (CENEGA), under the watchful eye of the Ministry of Agriculture, analysed the six birds in the National Laboratory of Veterinary Research during February and March of this year. It is believed that the infected birds came from the Ribatejo region, north of Lisbon. One of the ducks was already dead when it was found and the others were either caught in traps or injured beforehand. Luckily, however, none of the birds had contracted the deadly virus H5N1.

As February and March are the common migratory months for birds, it cannot be determined where the infection came from and it is possible that these birds were infected thousands of miles away. Many birds migrate from Africa to the north of Europe, and Portugal is on their flight path.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), since the first human viral outbreak in Asia in 1997, 138 people have died and 236 have been infected. Indonesia has recorded 44 deaths, with Vietnam coming second with 42 registered deaths as a result of H5N1.