Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Dorset avian influenza epidemiology report published
Defra has today published an epidemiology report into the H5N1 avian influenza case in wild birds in Dorset.
While it has not been possible to conclusively identify the source of the infection, the most likely hypothesis is that it was introduced by an infected migratory wild bird.
It has also been established that the strain of the virus is similar to those isolated in continental Europe in the latter part of 2007.
The report outlines the detailed surveillance that has been carried out in the area, both in domestic and wild bird populations. There is currently no evidence to suggest widespread disease in the wild bird population, but poultry keepers in the area are reminded to remain vigilant and report any signs of disease immediately. There remains no evidence of disease in domestic birds.
At the time of writing disease was confined to the six birds on the same premises. This represents a very low level of infection in the wild bird population on the site.
Further epidemiology reports will be published in due course.
Notes to editors
1. The report will be available at http://www.defra.gov.uk/avianflu
2. Advice and information on H5N1 avian influence is available via the Defra Helpline on 08459 33 55 77. Poultry keepers can also call the Animal Health recorded information line for the latest updates, on 0844 884 4600.
3. Avian Influenza is a disease of birds and whilst it can pass very rarely and with difficulty to humans, this usually requires extremely close contact with infected birds, particularly faeces. As a precautionary measure those who might have been exposed would be offered the appropriate treatment and protection in line with established protocols. Advice from the Food Standards Agency remains that properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
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