Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Checks for Bird Flu in Designated Risk Areas

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

New Checks for Bird Flu in Designated Risk Areas

Article excerpt

Checks for cases of bird flu are to take place in areas with higher numbers of migrating waterfowl and larger poultry populations, Defra has announced.

It said the updated and revised strategy to screen wild birds for the presence of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza had been developed in partnership with the devolved administrations.

The programme is being introduced in time for the autumn migration of water birds from more northerly altitudes and will have three key elements: the testing of live birds, shot birds and dead birds.

Species thought to be a greater risk for introducing avian flu, in particular ducks, geese, swans, gulls and waders, will be targeted.

Defra said screening for the virus will take place in designated surveillance areas where a sample of reported dead birds will be collected and tested.

Unusually high numbers of dead birds will continue to be investigated throughout the UK as in previous years.

Debby Reynolds, the UK's chief veterinary officer, said: "This new targeted strategy ensures that our operation is as sharp as possible. …

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