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Avian flu: UK poultry keepers urged to plan ahead

by 5m Editor
8 November 2005, at 12:00am

UK - Bird owners should be making plans on how their birds could be moved indoors at short notice, if it becomes necessary, Chief Vet Debby Reynolds said today (8 November).

Avian flu: poultry keepers urged to plan ahead - UK - Bird owners should be making plans on how their birds could be moved indoors at short notice, if it becomes necessary, Chief Vet Debby Reynolds said today (8 November).

As part of the Government's programme to reduce the risks posed by avian influenza (bird flu) British bird owners would need to move their birds indoors as soon as possible if a case of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza were found in this country. If housing is not practicable, the keeper will need to take all reasonable measures to minimise contact with wild birds.

These requirements would be invoked as a precautionary measure to avoid spread of the disease while an outbreak is investigated. They have been adopted in the light of growing evidence that wild birds may carry the highly pathogenic form of avian influenza.

Defra also published its latest Qualitative Risk Assessment (QRA) today, which is updated on a regular basis.

Dr Reynolds said:

"We have studied this risk assessment carefully. Our latest assessment is that there is a high risk of further global geographic spread of avian flu in birds. The risk to the UK can be described as ‘an increased, but still low likelihood of the imminent introduction of H5N1 to the UK'.”

Source: Defra - 8th November 2005

5m Editor