Germany says suspected bird flu not confirmed in final test

BERLIN, Feb 16 (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 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

said governments must not allow financial constraints caused by

the current global economic crisis to stop them being vigilant

for any spread of bird flu.

(Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Mark heinrich)