August 14, 2006

US suspects bird flu in Mich. swans, but not high risk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials believe that wild
swans in Michigan may have been infected with a strain of the
bird flu virus, but it is not thought to be a highly pathogenic
strain and is one that has been seen previously in North
America, the White House said on Monday.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said that officials from
the Agriculture and Interior Departments would be announcing
the findings at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).

The officials will "be announcing that routine surveillance
has indicated the possible presence of an H5N1 avian influenza
virus in wild swans ... in Michigan, however this is not what
we're accustomed to hearing about from Asia," Snow told

"At this point they believe it is a strain of low
pathogenicity similar to strains that have been seen before in
North America," he said. Snow added it did not appear to be
related to highly pathogenic strain that has spread through
parts of Asia, Europe and Africa.