Italy and Greece announced they had detected the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus in dead swans, making this the first time it has been found in Western Europe. The European Union has also confirmed the deadly strain was found in Bulgaria.
Authorities in Greece, Italy and Bulgaria said there were no known reports of people being infected with the virus, just birds. "It's a relatively safe situation for human health, less so for animal health," the Italian Health Minister said.
Experts said that the virus has been detected in wild birds rather than on poultry farms, so there is less chance of it spreading to humans. "The risk to humans is less if the disease is in wildlife than if it is in poultry," said a health officer.