Following the discovery of bird flu on a German island in the Baltic Sea, Sweden has ordered farmers to keep chickens and other poultry here indoors, Radio Sweden reported on Wednesday.
"The Swedish Board of Agriculture decided late Tuesday that all tame birds in the country should be kept indoors. In the cases where this is not possible they should at least be kept under a roof of some sort to avoid contact with wild birds," said state epizootic disease expert Marianne Elvander.
"This way we hope to avoid the virus getting into the tame bird stocks," she added.
The agriculture board has also ordered a halt to all bird shows in the country.
Swedish virologist and bird flu expert Bjoern Olsen meanwhile told the TT news agency that he suspected the virus was already in the country.
"I would not be surprised if the virus is already in Sweden. It is probably just a matter of time before we find a dead swan here, " he said.
The German authorities confirmed Tuesday that the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has been found on the Baltic island of Ruegen.
The authorities here are also closely monitoring the situation at the southwestern Swedish lake Hornborgasjoen, where thousands of cranes return every spring for their annual mating dance. The cranes spend several days on the German island before flying on to Sweden, usually in mid-March.