Is bird flu in the UK?

British scientists are expected to reveal today (Thursday) whether a dead swan found on the Scottish coast was infected with H5N1 avian influenza, Scottish authorities said last night. linkurl:Preliminary tests;http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2006/04/05231331 on the swan showed that it was infected with highly pathogenic H5 avian flu, but the exact strain is not yet known. With infected birds having turned up elsewhere in Europe, the UK has been anticipating the possible arrival of th

By | April 6, 2006

British scientists are expected to reveal today (Thursday) whether a dead swan found on the Scottish coast was infected with H5N1 avian influenza, Scottish authorities said last night. linkurl:Preliminary tests;http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2006/04/05231331 on the swan showed that it was infected with highly pathogenic H5 avian flu, but the exact strain is not yet known. With infected birds having turned up elsewhere in Europe, the UK has been anticipating the possible arrival of the virus for weeks. The Scottish Executive said that it was following European Union rules and putting in place a Protection Zone of a minimum of three kilometres radius and a Surveillance Zone of 10 kilometres around the place where the bird was found, near the town of Anstruther. The British Broadcasting Corporation linkurl:reported;http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4882070.stm that locals said the dead bird had washed up in the village harbour. Police Sergeant Martin Johncock, said the bird's decomposed body had been taken for tests last Wednesday after it was discovered on the harbour slipway. In the meantime, people who keep birds within the protection zone have been advised to keep their birds away from wild populations by taking them indoors. Measures to restrict the movement of poultry, eggs and poultry products from the area will be brought into effect immediately. The Scottish Executive pointed out that avian influenza remains a disease of birds and "whilst it can pass very rarely and with difficulty, to humans this requires extremely close contact with infected birds, particularly faeces." Scotland's chief veterinary officer, Charles Milne, linkurl:told the BBC;http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2121148,00.html the discovery was a "huge development," and represented the first time there has been any indication of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 strain in the country.

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