Tests from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) have confirmed
that the sample from the swan found dead in Fife, Scotland did
contain the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu virus.
Scottish and UK officials are already undertaking an urgent veterinary
risk assessment and consulting ornithological experts to consider
the specific circumstances of this case and determine the level
of any risk it may pose to poultry and other kept birds.
However, on the basis of a preliminary risk assessment it has
been concluded that a GB-wide poultry housing requirement would
be disproportionate. We are urgently considering whether there
is a need for any regional measures in addition to those that have
already been put in place in the Protection and Surveillance Zones.
Further advice will be available once the full veterinary assessment
is complete and this situation will be reviewed on a daily basis.
The Scottish Executive has already placed a Protection Zone of
three kilometres radius where poultry have been housed and a Surveillance
Zone of 10 kilometres around the site where the bird was found.
There is no reason for public health concern. Avian Influenza
is 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.
The European Commission have been informed of this development.
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