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Bird flu confirmed in GermanyPosted on 04/07/2007

The likelihood of Britain and Europe needing an increase in the supply of personal protective equipment to prevent infection, particularly respiratory face masks, has increased with news of another outbreak of the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu in Germany.

An H5N1 infection in a wild bird was confirmed by health officials in the state of Thuringia yesterday, after which a two-mile exclusion zone was set up around the site where the bird was located.

A wild swan is also being tested for the disease, Reuters reports.

The news follows confirmation last month that a number of wild birds had been infected in the states of Bavaria and Saxony, followed by a confirmed outbreak in a wild swan and at a poultry farm in the Czech Republic.

France and Austria are also testing birds suspected of having the virus.

The H5N1virus has already killed over 200 humans worldwide who have come into close contact with infected birds.

Were the strain to mutate and become capable of human to human transmission, many more face masks may be required as experts fear such a development could cause a pandemic.

Britain's only H5N1 outbreak this year was at a Suffolk turkey farm in February.

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