Joint statement from UK and Scottish Chief Veterinary Officers

Date Published: 06/04/2006

The following is a joint statement issued by Defra on Thursday, April 6, 2006:

“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.”