Defra lifts H5N1 restrictions in Dorset

Defra is to lift today the Wild Bird Monitoring Area and associated disease control restrictions put in place following the case of H5N1 Avian Influenza in wild birds in Dorset.

Defra has announced today that it is to lift from 14.00 today the Wild Bird Monitoring Area and associated disease control restrictions put in place following the case of H5N1 Avian Influenza in wild birds in Dorset.

Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza was first confirmed on 10 January 2008 and to date 11 dead birds in the area have tested positive for the virus.

It is 30 days since collection of the last positive bird, but expert ornithological and veterinary advice is that infection may still be found both in this area or elsewhere in the country.

Defra deputy chief veterinary officer, Alick Simmons, said: "Our active surveillance and sampling in the area has provided evidence that the virus has been confined to mute swans and a single Canada goose, at a very low level. There is no evidence of disease spreading to domestic birds nor any further cases in wild birds in the past 30 days. "

He added: "Given the constant disease risk, further cases of a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza are to be expected. Therefore I would urge all bird keepers across the country to remain vigilant for signs of disease, and maintain good biosecurity practices."

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