Worldwide

Queen's swans 'killed by bird flu'

The Queen is said to be "profoundly upset" after more than 20 of her swans have died from what is suspected to be bird flu.

"They are waiting for the tests to come back but everyone suspects the worst".

David Barber is the official Swan Marker for Elizabeth II - he declared that he was "deeply saddened" by the loss.

"The results are expected early next week". Currently, no bird flu has been detected in poultry or kept birds.

Thirteen wild birds were and they were confirmed to have the disease.

Scientists from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are now investigating the suspected case of H5N6 avian influenza, according to reports in The Sun.

Mr Barber, who is responsible for the centuries old tradition of carrying out the annual swan census, said staff were monitoring the situation and trying to stop the spread.

Royal biographer Penny Junor said: "The Queen will be profoundly upset about this".

Defra confirmed that seven of the swans that died were being tested for bird flu.

The World Health Organisation first reported a case of human infection in April 2014 in China.

Symptoms of Avian Influenza A are typically a shortness of breath and fever.

Public Health England say the risk to United Kingdom residents is "very low" and the risk of human-to-human transmission "low". Defra introduced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone on January 18.

"Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious virus".

Recently, two mute swans tested positive in Greater London.



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