Italy: Rome seals off park after swan dies from bird flu

Death of swan in Villa Pamphilj prompts partial closure of popular Rome park.

Rome's largest park has been partially sealed off to the public after a swan died from a case of avian influenza, or bird flu.

The news was announced on Monday night by the city's mayor Roberto Gualtieri who ordered the 10-day closure of the eastern part of Villa Pamphilj, in the area around the Giglio lake.

Gualtieri said he signed the order with "great regret", after the Italian public health institute IZSVe confirmed the swan died from bird flu, but stressed that "the health of citizens is a priority for us."

Authorities remove the dead swan from Villa Pamphilj. Photo Fanpage.

The "precautionary closure" follows a recent outbreak of bird flu at Ostia Antica, near Rome, resulting in the lockdown of 35 small farms in the area.

The death of the swan, known to park-goers as Orietta, comes days after local media reported the deaths of two other birds in the park: another swan, Giulietta, and a goose known as Ines. It is not clear if the two other birds died from avian influenza.

Lazio regional health councillor Alessio D'Amato said on Monday the situation is "under control" and that there are no restrictions on eating eggs or poultry products.

Symptoms of the disease in birds include decreased activity or vocalisation, eating and drinking less and producing fewer eggs.

In addition to Rome and Ostia Antica, cases of avian influenza have been reported in recent months at commercial chicken and turkey farms in the Verona area of the northern Veneto region.

Photo La Repubblica

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Italy: Rome seals off park after swan dies from bird flu

Via Aurelia Antica, 183, 00164 Roma RM, Italy