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Avian Flu Update...
Author: Peter BryantTitle: Avian Flu Update
Date: 2006-02-17 15:05:50Uploaded by: webmaster
Dear All,
I thought it would be useful for you to see the latest sitrep from DEFRA on the AI outbreaks in Europe. Despite what appears to be bad news please see the paragraph that I have highlighted with regards to shows and racing. This of course is within the UK and I don't think you need to be a rocket scientist to realise that continental racing is looking particularly unlikely at the moment. Certainly France and Germany are out of the equation at the present moment in time and I still await confirmation from DEFRA with regards to my request to race from the continent.

Peter Bryant, General Manager

The following is to bring you up to date with what is happening.
  • Following confirmation of reports of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 in wild birds (mainly mute swans) in some EU Member States (Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia), Defra has reviewed the current risk of the imminent introduction of the virus to the UK and our assessment is that the likelihood of further geographical spread is high but the risk of outbreak of the most serious form of avian flu (known as H5N1) in the UK is increased but still low. A Preliminary Outbreak Assessment on the current situation in Europe has been published on the Defra website and I attach a link.
  • We have consulted ornithological and meteorological experts. Their advice is that the UK population of Mute swans is self-contained and under normal circumstances does not come into contact with populations in continental Europe. Nevertheless the experts concluded that we are in a very dynamic and uncertain situation and we will continue to monitor developments.
  • We would encourage all bird keepers to remain vigilant and maintain good biosecurity standards; feeding and watering under cover in order to minimise contact with wild bird populations, reporting of any unusual die off(s) and signs of ill health to their vet. Please could you reinforce this message with your members.
  • In the light of the risk assessment our policies on bird shows, gatherings, fairs and racing remain unchanged for the present and we are not requiring the housing of birds at this time. We are keeping the situation under review.
  • We are also publishing on the website today the latest finding from our surveillance programme for avian influenza in wild birds. As part of that programme, VLA confirmed on Tuesday that a fragment of a Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus (H5) had been identified from a legally shot teal in the Essex marshes. The N subtype cannot be identified since no infectious material has been recovered, however this is not the highly pathogenic Asian H5N1 strain. This is not an unexpected result given the expected prevalence of influenza viruses in wild birds and is a negligible risk to either public or animal health. The gene sequence is similar to other contemporary European H5 viruses detected recently in wild birds and is not the same lineage as the highly pathogenic Asian H5N1 strain.
  • At this stage we do not know the lineage of the virus detected in swans in Germany, but it is important to note that the fragment isolated in the Teal was of low pathogenicity and is not the same lineage as the highly pathogenic Asian H5N1 strain.

Peter Bryant
General Manager
The Royal Pigeon Racing Association

Coo time for a brew!...Where next?
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