BEIJING, Oct. 12 -- Colombian authorities said Monday they had detected the first suspected cases of bird flu in the South American country, but insisted the strain was not harmful to humans.
The country's Ministry of Agriculture said the Avian influenza was discovered in chickens at three farms in Tolima state of western Colombia, and the affected flocks were immediately quarantined to prevent the spread of the disease.
Jorge Enrique Bedoya is Director of Colombia's Avian Institute or ICA:
"There are 300,000 birds in quarantine and all the numbers and statistics are held at ICA," Bedoya said.
The Agricultural Ministry also said there was no sign of the H5N1 strain of bird flu that experts fear could mutate to become a dangerous human-transmittable virus.
Tests will now be carried out on chickens across the country to check for the virus.