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Bird Flu Found in German Mammal

March 9, 2006

BERLIN (AP) _ The H5N1 bird flu virus has been found in a weasel-like mammal called a stone marten, a German laboratory said Thursday, indicating the disease has spread beyond birds and cats to another animal species.

The Friedrich-Loeffler Institute confirmed the presence of the virus in the marten, a carnivorous mammal with brown fur and a white throat patch. The animal was found alive on the island of Ruegen in northern Germany on March 2, but was killed after the virus was detected.

The deadly strain of bird flu was found in a cat in Germany last month, the first time the virus has been identified in an animal other than a bird in central Europe.

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