Wild Bird Flu Breakout in Britain

UK - It has been confirmed that three mute swans in Dorset have tested positive for the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu. The Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (defra) have issued a statement saying that the birds were found dead and tested following their routine surveillance programme.
calendar icon 10 January 2008
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A Wild Bird Control Area and Monitoring Area are being established around the premises, encompassing Chesil Beach and Portland Bill, and the shape of these is based on expert ornithological advice.

"Our message to all bird keepers, particularly those in the area, is that they must be vigilant"
Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Fred Landeg

Inside these areas bird keepers are required to house their birds or otherwise isolate them from contact with wild birds, bird movements will be restricted, and bird gatherings are banned. Defra is also working closely with ornithological and other experts to consider what wider measures may be needed.

No disease has been found in domestic birds, and a programme of surveillance is being carried out in the local wild bird population, but Defra have made it clear that there will be no culling of wild birds, because such action may disperse birds further and work against control.

Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Fred Landeg said:

“While this is obviously unwelcome news, we have always said that Britain is at a constant low level of risk of introduction of Avian Influenza. Our message to all bird keepers, particularly those in the area, is that they must be vigilant, report any signs of disease immediately, and practice the highest levels of biosecurity.”

A full epidemiological investigation is underway.

All poultry keepers on the GB Poultry Register are being notified, and the EU Commission has been informed.

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