Germany - Wild Goose
Suspected Of H5N1 Infection
From Patricia Doyle, PhD
ProMed Mail
By Valerie Elliott, Rory Watson and David Rose
The Times - UK
A ban on the import of all captive birds from around the world plus a ban on all bird fairs, exhibitions and shows to protect Britain and Europe from the deadly avian flu virus is to be in place within 24 hours.
News of the tough new controls emerged as the EU food safety agency warned consumers to avoid raw eggs and to cook poultry thoroughly. Herman Koeter, the agency's deputy chief, said last night [25 Oct 2005] that the possibility of the virus being transmitted through food could not be discounted.
Signs of the virus were found yesterday [25 Oct 2005] in 2 dead migratory birds at a lake in Neuwied in Germany, although the bodies of another 23 birds found at the same location did not contain any traces.
See map
Further tests are needed to confirm the deadly strain, but the discovery provoked alarm throughout the EU. If positive, it would bring the disease in migratory birds to the heart of the European mainland. Many EU states last night [25 Oct 2005] were poised to follow the action of the French and order all poultry and game birds to be locked indoors.
The order applies to farms in 21 French departments to protect them from the threat of migratory birds. Hunters were also banned from using live birds as bait amid fears of contact with migratory birds. There was no sign yet that the British Government would do the same.
Margaret Beckett, the Rural Affairs Secretary, is to make a statement to the Commons today [26 Oct 2005] to outline the emergency measures being introduced throughout the country and the European Union.
This includes a ban on the commercial import of exotic birds, such as parrots, as pets. These were considered the main threat of carrying the disease, because 232 000 exotic pets and birds have been brought into the EU in the past 3 months.
EU veterinary experts believe the threat of the spread of the flu virus via bird imports is greater than the threat posed from a black market in wild captive birds.
Ministers have allowed individuals to import exotic birds to keep as pets. They will be subject to strict rules, and each owner will be restricted to a maximum of 5 birds. The birds must also pass veterinary health checks and have spent 21 days in quarantine before leaving the country of export.
The bans on trade and bird gatherings are being introduced as a temporary measure to ensure there is no risk of avian flu spreading after the 1st case of the virus found in a parrot from Suriname, which mingled with birds from Taiwan at an Essex quarantine station. If the parrot had not died in quarantine last week [3rd week October 2005], the bird consignments would have been allowed on general sale in pet shops today, 30 days after they were allowed to mix, according to dates disclosed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The precise chain of events remains muddled, and it is clear government vets are not yet certain about the facts. They are also still trying to ascertain whether the virus was at the quarantine center before the arrival of the birds from Suriname, and also which bird became infected 1st. It was also unclear last night [25 Oct 2005] whether experts at the Veterinary Laboratory Agency conducting the tests had the necessary tissue samples from all the birds in question.
It emerged yesterday [25 Oct 2005] that staff at the Pegasus shop were expecting a delivery of orange-winged Amazons, believed to be the species of the infected parrot. Another Essex bird trader said she had been promised they would be available this month.
The 1st casualty of the ban on bird gatherings is this weekend's Countryside Live Fair at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate, where the poultry and pigeon section was cancelled after a ruling from Fred Landeg, the Government's deputy chief veterinary officer. About 1500 birds had been expected at the event. In anticipation of a ban, Phil Carcass, chairman of the East Midland Bird Breeders Association, also cancelled the annual gathering for about 3000 birds at the Newark Showground due next week. The move will please animal welfare groups who have been fighting for a ban on wild captive birds, as well as poultry farmers who are anxious to safeguard their livelihoods.
The new measures to protect Europe were agreed to, as ministers considered a new outbreak of avian flu in China and a 4th death in Indonesia.,,2-1843586,00.html
-- ProMED-mail
Under normal circumstances, the detection of antibodies against an (hitherto undefined) avian influenza in 2 out of 23 dead "migratory birds" (according to other media sources, wild geese) anywhere would not be regarded as exceptional or alarming. Obviously, ours are different times. We are anticipating receiving the final lab results as soon as possible. - Mod.AS
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board.
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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