Published on Thursday, April 6, 2006

UK on bird flu alert

A swan found dead with bird flu in Scotland had the UK on alert over the potential spread of the virus.

The news dominated the front pages of UK newspapers for two days as the bird was confirmed as contracting the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.

The swan was discovered in the east Scottish coastal village of Cellardyke, about nine miles from St Andrews in Fife.

Scotland's chief veterinary officer Charles Milne told the BBC: "This is the first time that we have any indication that we might have highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 strain in GB. This has clear implications for our veterinary risk assessments and the action that we want to put in place over the next few days and weeks."

The government's chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds was quoted as saying: "We are already in a high state of readiness and I have every confidence that officials north and south of the border will work together to manage this incident successfully."

The H5N1 virus does not at present pose a major threat to humans as it cannot pass easily from one person to another.

*See today's TravelMole guest comment 

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  • So what's the travel perspective?

    While my first concern is for UK farmers, who seem to have faced regular epidemics in recent years, bird-flu is also affecting tourism and I’m interested in industry reaction to this story. How will this news affect UK tourism? Among consumers seeking to holiday abroad, is there a strong preference for bird-flu free destinations? If, as now seems likely, all European countries eventually see outbreaks of bird-flu, will the effect on European travel be neutral or perhaps a continent-wide decline in holiday travellers? Chris Woodward

    By Chris Woodward, Thursday, April 6, 2006

  • Clay pigeons

    3 billion Asians. 100 individuals have died from bird flu. It will just be another excuse for Brown/Blair to raise taxes. More people will die from being hit by clay pigeons.

    By David Burdon, Thursday, April 6, 2006

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