Germany says suspected bird flu not confirmed in final test

BERLIN (REUTERS) - A case of suspected H5N1 bird flu that had been discovered during initial tests on a poultry farm in the eastern state of Brandenburg could not be confirmed in final testing, the state agriculture ministry said on Saturday.

The H5N1 virus mainly affects birds but occasionally jumps to people. Experts fear it might mutate into a form that could spread easily among humans, who have no natural immunity to it.

Bird flu is present in Asian countries including China, Cambodia and Indonesia. It has also been reported in wild birds in parts of Europe.

Currently, bird flu can be transmitted from birds to birds, and birds to humans, but not from humans to humans. When it does pass from birds to humans, it is usually fatal.

On Jan 29, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said governments must not allow financial constraints caused by the current global economic crisis to stop them from being vigilant for any spread of bird flu.