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H5N1 Confirmed in Lednice Czech Republic
Recombinomics Commentary
June 28, 2007

A dead swan found by a lake in the south-eastern Czech Republic has been confirmed to carry the H5N1 bird flu strain, which is deadly to humans, Jaroslav Salava of the State Veterinary Administration told reporters Thursday. The case had not surprised veterinarians because the area's vast lakes attract scores of migrating wild birds, he said. "We consider this area a high risk," Salava added.

The first Czech case in a wild bird this year was detected after two H5N1 outbreaks were confirmed in commercial poultry flocks in the country's eastern region since last Thursday.

The dead swan was found on the edge of a lake in a popular holiday area.

The above comments confirm Qinghai H5N1 in a dead swan in Lednice, South Moravia, near the Czech/Slovakia/Austrian border.  It is not near farms, but is a popular site for wild birds.  However, migration in June in the Czech Republic is limited, and most of the positive birds in Nuremberg in Bavaria and Frohburg in Saxony were in mute swans, which are non-migratory.

The H5N1 confirmation in south-eastern Czech Republic extends the region for confirmed H5N1 cases, which are in Bavaria and Saxony in Germany, and northern and southern areas in the Czech Republic.  These data provide more evidence for endemic H5N1 in wild birds in western Europe. 

Thus far, only dead or dying wild birds have been positive, raising additional concerns over the sensitivity of the surveillance program.

More information on the sequences from these isolates, as well as the status of dead birds at Litomysl and 250 dead seagulls near Nocad, adjacent to the border with Poland, would be useful.

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