The German scientists have stated that four people have died after catching bird flu from wild swans.
The scientists, who had only just announced about the deaths, had said that they had occurred earlier this year. They also went on to state that they were the first confirmed cases of avian flu that were being passed on from the wild birds.
AdvertisementIt was stated that the victims, all hailed from a village in Azerbaijan, and are believed to have caught the lethal H5N1 virus when they collected the dead swans to sell the feathers for pillows. They also said that three other people who were infected by the swans have survived the scare.
Andreas Gilsdorf, an epidemiologist at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, who led the team that made the discovery, said that as far as they know this is the first case of having a transmission from a wild bird, but it was a very intensive contact. He said, "We know that the virus is carried by swans and we know that you can catch the virus if you have close contact, so it doesn't change anything, it's just the first time it has been reported."
Meanwhile some ornithologists and conservation experts have tried to play down the role of the wild birds for spreading the disease. At a time when the migratory birds were being unfairly shown as signs of death and disease, the UN had organised a convention on Migratory Species called the "world migratory bird day" in April.
It was also reported that almost all of the 220 other confirmed human cases of bird flu, including 130 deaths, have been linked to infected domestic poultry. Only a handful is believed to have caught the disease directly from infected humans. The cases seemed mainly to be centred on Salyan district of Azerbaijan, which was 144 kilometres southeast of Baku.
Reports have also showed that six of the seven new victims, who were all aged between 10 and 20, were from the same family. Though the relatives had initially denied any contact with them, as the hunting and trading of wild birds and their products is illegal, eventually admitted that the victims had plucked the feathers from dead swans, that died in large numbers in February.