http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=310862006 Cat's bird flu death raises human fears EBEN HARRELL A DOMESTIC cat found dead in Germany tested positive for bird flu yesterday, the first time the virus has been found in a mammal in Europe, the World Health Organisation said. The find increases concern that the virus could spread to other species in Europe as it has in other parts of the world. Maria Cheng, of the World Health Organisation, said: "We know that mammals can become infected with H5N1. But we don't know what this means for humans. "We don't know if they would play a role in transmitting the disease. We don't know how much virus the cats would excrete, how much people would need to be exposed to before they fell ill." Several big cats in Asian zoos have died after being fed with infected birds, and domestic cats have been shown to be particularly vulnerable. So far, however, no human has been infected by a cat. The cat was found dead on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen, where most of 100-plus cases of H5N1-infected wild birds in Germany have been found. It is possible the cat ate a bird, Ms Cheng said. But scientists are particularly concerned about bird flu infecting pigs, because swine can also become infected with human flu virus. The fear is that the two viruses could swap genetic material and create a new virus and a human pandemic. Also yesterday, the US joined Japan in a ban of poultry shipments from France's Ain region, where bird flu was found in turkeys. Experts were also dispatched yesterday to the Bahamas to examine a spate of flamingo deaths. And Iraq said that it was carrying out checks for four suspected human cases of bird flu. • A "bird flu" car registration number has gone on sale on eBay for £9,000. The number HN51 FLU is billed as "the closest you can get to having a registration plate 'H5N1 FLU'."