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BIRD FLU UPDATE

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No new positive tests for H5N1 avian flu emerged over the weekend as scientists worked round the clock to ensure ch...
No new positive tests for H5N1 avian flu emerged over the weekend as scientists worked round the clock to ensure checks were done as quickly as possible.

The H5N1 strain was confirmed in a dead swan at Cellardyke Harbour in Fife on Wednesday 5 April.

A number of dead birds have since then been reported to the authorities and collected for analysis. The helpline number is 08459 33 55 77.

A 3km protection zone is currently in force around the location, restricting the movement of poultry and poultry products.

A 10km surveillance zone has also been set up within which extra monitoring is taking place.

Under a decision by the European Commission, the protection zone will be in place for a minimum of 21 days and the surveillance zone for 30 days following confirmation of of a case of H5N1.

The decision on ending the zones is dependent on whether or not any more birds are found to have the virus.

The Executive has also set up a Wild Bird Risk Area on 2,500 sq km to the east of the A90 and M90, stretching from Stonehaven in the north to the Forth Road Bridge in the south. Within this area all poultry has to be housed and, if this is not possible, separated from contact with wild birds.

Press release from Fife Council follows.

Council Writes To Residents In Avian Flu Area

Fife Council is today, Friday April 7 delivering help and advice to more than 2,000 homes in the Cellardyke and Anstruther area currently at the centre of an avian flu incident.

The information, in the form of a letter from the council explains a number of facts about the disease and offers some useful questions and answers which people may have concerns about.

Chief executive Douglas Sinclair said: 'Although Fife Council's role is one of supporting the Scottish Executive and the other national agencies in managing this incident we know local people have concerns about avian or 'bird flu' and we want to do all we can to reassure them.

'By giving everyone the information direct through their door we hope it will help allay any fears they may have. The key message is not to panic, avian flu is a bird disease, not a human one. And it is perfectly safe to continue using open spaces for instance the countryside and beaches, we just need to follow some simple precautions. There are a number of information and advice routes now set up and I would urge people to use these if they have any concerns or doubts.'

The letters will also be placed in public venues, including the local services centre, community centres and libraries.

Fife Council has a local services centre in Ladywalk, Anstruther which is open 9am to 4pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday and Friday and 9am to 1pm on Wednesdays where help is available.

A poster has also been prepared highlighting important advice. This will be delivered to public venues throughout the Anstruther and Cellardyke area.

Press release from Perth & Kinross Council follows.

Perth & Kinross Council officers met on Thursday to discuss the recentsituation in Fife and the Council will support the Scottish Executive and State Veterinary Service - if and when required - and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

As a matter of routine the council and its partners are proactive in preparing for emergency situations. This includes regular partnership meetings, reviewing emergency response plans and ensuring personnel attend regular emergency planning training.

In particular a number of meetings were held last year between Perth & Kinross Council, NHS Tayside, adjacent local authorities, Tayside Police and the Scottish Ambulance Service to discuss an integrated response to pandemic influenza. In addition, Council representatives from a number of services attended a Tayside Regional Emergency Co-ordinating Planning Strategic Co-ordinating Group (RECAP) training exercise in January of this year, which focused on responding to a pandemic flu scenario.

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