Friday, 7 April 2006

Avian flu

<![CDATA[ Reports came through this afternoon that three birds found dead or unwell in Lewis and the Uists were being tested for avian flu. This comes in the wake of the confirmation that a dead swan found in Fife carried the H5N1 strain of the virus. The Outer Hebrides are an important landing spot for geese and other birds on their annual migratory routes, in April north to the Arctic for breeding.

The Director for Public Health in the Western Isles, Dr Sheila Scott, has issued advice, to which I would like to link. The webpage concerned shows FAQ's and a Letter from Dr Sheila Scott. This advice would apply anywhere in the Scottish islands or mainland.

If you find a dead swan, goose or duck; or three or more dead wild or garden birds in the same place, you should call the Defra helpline on 08459 335577. Do not touch any carcass. If at all possible, make a note of the exact location should you find a bird in the wild parts of the islands (OS grid reference).

There is no cause for alarm, and eggs and poultry can be eaten safely, if prepared properly. The risk of birdflu spreading to humans is extremely small, unless we are in very close contact with birds.

I'll use this blog to update further on this story, where the Hebrides are concerned. ]]>

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