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Stackyard News Jul 07

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Defra to Increase Surveillance for Avian Influenza

Defra has asked wild bird reserves in the South East of England, East Anglia and Northamptonshire to undertake patrols for dead wild birds. This follows recent detections of avian influenza H5N1 in France, Germany and the Czech Republic and consultation with ornithological experts.


Our expert advice is that the areas identified for increased surveillance are those into which birds migrating from the affected parts of Europe are most likely to arrive.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Debby Reynolds, said:

“The risk of avian influenza to the UK remains low but increased, and our current control and monitoring measures reflect this. We will continue to monitor the disease situation and we are keeping our levels of surveillance under review. We are also very grateful for the valuable voluntary contribution from the organisations who we work in partnership with to carry out this surveillance work.”

Dead wild birds of certain species (e.g. gulls, ducks, geese, swans and waders) which have a greater potential role, will be sent for laboratory testing as a means of early warning of avian influenza reaching the UK.

Members of the public are also encouraged to report dead wild birds of those species by calling the Defra Helpline on 08459 33 55 77.

Defra and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency have developed a partnership approach to the wild bird survey with organisations including the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, British Trust for Ornithology, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Natural England and a number of local authorities.

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