The first strain of bird flu to be detected in Europe was reported yesterday by Finlandís agriculture ministry after a possible case of the disease was found in a seagull in the town of Oulu.
A global outbreak has been feared since the avian virus recently spread from Asia into Russia and Kazakhstan.
"As a result of a monitoring programme in Finland, we have made an initial finding of a possible bird flu virus in a seagull," the ministry said in a statement. "The studies are ongoing and a final result will come in three weeks."
The Netherlands and Germany recently implemented emergency measures to prevent the infection of poultry after the Russian discovery caused experts to re-evaluate the opinion that there was only a minimal chance of it reaching Europe.
The Finnish ministry said it had been improving disease protection for poultry facilities "systematically over several years".