Skip to comments.Act Now To Protect Poultry, UK Urged (Bird Flu)
Posted on 02/20/2006 5:11:54 PM PST by blam
Act now to protect poultry, UK urged
James Sturcke and agencies
Monday February 20, 2006
All Britain's 180 million farm birds should be brought indoors or vaccinated against bird flu, a respected expert said today, as the government admitted the risk of the virus reaching the UK had increased.
Tony Blair's official spokesman conceded there was a "higher" risk of the virus hitting the UK but said this was not yet inevitable. Ministers attempted to curb panic and said there were no plans to bring poultry indoors at this stage or carry out mass vaccinations.
France and the Netherlands have ordered all poultry indoors in recent days, and this afternoon EU agriculture ministers in Brussels discussed a French request that all farm birds should be vaccinated against bird flu. Albert Osterhaus, the head of virology at the University of Rotterdam and an adviser to the Dutch government, said the UK should follow his country's lead in bringing all poultry indoors.
Since a vaccine took nearly a month to take effect, immediate action should be taken to minimise contact between poultry and the wild birds thought to carry the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, he said.
Dr Osterhaus told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It is important to realise that migrating birds could bring in the virus, and where possible action should be taken to avoid contact [with farmed birds]. If it is not possible to bring them indoors, you should consider vaccinating them. To be effective you have to vaccinate them twice, which takes 30 days."
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
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