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Asian Bird Flu Spreads to England

October 23, 2005

LONDON (AP) _ The British government said Sunday that a strain of bird flu that killed a parrot in quarantine is the deadly H5N1 strain that has plagued Asia and recently spread to Europe and Turkey.

Scientists determined that the parrot, imported from South America, died of the strain of avian flu that has devastated poultry stocks and killed 61 people in Asia the past two years, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The virus is spread by migrating wild birds and has recently been found in birds in Russia, Turkey and Romania, spurring efforts around the globe to contain its spread.

While H5N1 is easily transmitted between birds, it is hard for humans to contract. But experts fear it could mutate into a form of flu that is easily transmitted between humans and cause a pandemic that could kill millions.

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