Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fourth Swan Tests Positive for H5N1 in England

"The deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza was detected in a fourth dead swan in southwest England, the U.K. environment ministry said, six days after the outbreak of the disease was first reported.

The ministry said Jan. 10 that three dead mute swans were found with the virus. The outbreak occurred at Abbotsbury Swannery, a reserve near Chesil Beach in Dorset.

'Another mute swan collected on 11 January as part of wild bird surveillance from the same area has tested positive'' for H5N1, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said today in an e-mailed statement.' There is currently no evidence to suggest widespread disease in the wild-bird population.''

It's the first outbreak in the U.K. this year, and only the fourth time the disease has been found in the country, after two outbreaks at poultry farms in Suffolk, eastern England, in 2007 and detection of the strain in a dead swan in Scotland in 2006.

After the latest outbreak, the government set up a 3- kilometer (2-mile) control area and a 10-kilometer monitoring area around the site, banning gatherings of domestic birds and requiring bird-keepers to isolate their flocks from wild fowl.

'Enhanced surveillance is taking place and poultry keepers in the area are reminded to remain vigilant and report any signs of disease immediately,' the ministry said today. 'There is no evidence of disease in domestic birds.'"

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