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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
French island case 'not bird flu'
Hospital in Saint-Denis
Results for two other suspect cases are expected on Friday
French authorities say tests on a man suspected of having bird flu on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion have proved negative.

The health ministry said the man, who had returned from a trip to Thailand, was "not a carrier of the H5N1 virus".

He is said to be suffering from another flu virus, not the deadly H5N1 strain that has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003.

Results for two other suspect cases from his tour group are due on Friday.

The 43-year-old man was admitted to hospital in Saint-Denis on Saturday complaining of weakness and severe headaches. He later developed a cough.

Initial tests carried out on Reunion were positive, but the deadly strain of bird flu, or avian flu was ruled out on Thursday after the tests were analysed in Paris.

The three suspect cases visited a bird park during their trip to Thailand and had close contacts with birds.

A senior Thai official rejected the suggestion that the bird park might be the source of infection.

The H5N1 virus has been found in wild swans in Croatia.

Officials are bracing for an outbreak of the lethal strain of bird flu in the European Union, after it was recently discovered in neighbouring Turkey, Romania and Russia.

In Asia, China has reported its third major outbreak of bird flu in two weeks.

Map showing locations of outbreaks of H5N1 strain of bird flu
The H5N1 strain remained largely in South-East Asia until this summer, when Russia and Kazakhstan both reported outbreaks
Scientists fear it may be carried by migrating birds to Europe and Africa but say it is hard to prove a direct link with bird migration
UK case discovered in quarantine, so disease-free status unaffected


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