BERLIN Feb 16 A case of suspected H5N1 bird flu
that had been discovered during initial tests on a poultry farm
in the eastern state of Brandenburg could not be confirmed in
final testing, the state agriculture ministry said on Saturday.
The H5N1 virus mainly affects birds but occasionally jumps
to people. Experts fear it might mutate into a form that could
spread easily among humans, who have no natural immunity to it.
Bird flu is present in Asian countries including China,
Cambodia and Indonesia. It has also been
reported in wild birds in parts of Europe.
Currently, bird flu can be transmitted from birds to birds,
and birds to humans, but not from humans to humans. When it does
pass from birds to humans, it is usually fatal.
On Jan. 29, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
said governments must not allow financial constraints caused by
the current global economic crisis to stop them being vigilant
for any spread of bird flu.
(Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Mark heinrich)