Netherlands confirms cases of H5N8 bird flu in wild swans

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Two cases of H5N8 bird flu have been confirmed in wild swans in the central Dutch province of Utrecht, Dutch authorities announced.

The Dutch agricultural ministry will consult with experts to see what steps, if any, have to be taken to avoid poultry farms being infected, the ministry said in a statement.

Last month the European Union urged countries to step up surveillance against possible outbreaks of avian flu among wild and domestic birds.

The disease is highly contagious for birds, but risks of transmission to humans are considered low, according to EU health and food agencies.

The past few months have seen outbreaks among wild and domestic birds in western Russia and Kazakhstan, which are on the autumn migration route for wild water birds heading to Europe.

Transmission to humans is rare, but has occurred in the past and can lead to death.

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