Avian flu ruf­fles feath­ers

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

pox. Since then, among those who claim to have spied her ap­pari­tion are the Prince Re­gent, in 1815, and the nov­el­ist Capt Mar­ryat in 1836. Who­ever she is, what is cer­tain is that, un­like other ‘spirit photographs’, for 80 years, the pic­ture and its neg­a­tive baf­fle all who in­ves­ti­gate.

POUL­TRY farm­ers are be­ing told to keep cap­tive chick­ens, tur­keys and ducks in­side—or keep them sep­a­rate from wild birds—for 30 days, in a bid to pro­tect them from a strain of avian flu that’s cir­cu­lat­ing around main­land Europe.

Gov­ern­ment Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens de­clared a pre­ven­tion zone in Eng­land, Scot­land and Wales on De­cem­ber 7, in re­sponse to a num­ber of out­breaks of Highly Path­o­genic Avian In­fluenza (H5N8) in poul­try and dead wild birds in coun­tries as close as Aus­tria, France, Swe­den, Den­mark, Ger­many and the Nether­lands.

‘Al­though no cases of H5N8 avian flu have been found in the UK, we are closely mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion and have scaled up sur­veil­lance,’ says Prof Gibbens. ‘Even when birds are housed, a risk of in­fec­tion re­mains, so this must be cou­pled with good biose­cu­rity (dis­in­fect­ing cloth­ing and equip­ment), re­duc­ing poul­try move­ment and min­imis­ing con­tact be­tween poul­try and wild birds.’

Robert Gooch, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Bri­tish Free Range Egg Pro­duc­ers Association, says that the threat of avian flu should not put peo­ple off eat­ing eggs.

It is hoped game shoot­ing will be largely un­af­fected by the mea­sures, as few game­keep­ers have cap­tive birds at this time of year.

Signs of avian flu in­clude a swollen head, dis­coloura­tion of neck and throat, loss of ap­petite, res­pi­ra­tory dis­tress, di­ar­rhoea and fewer eggs laid. PL

The ghost of Rayn­ham Hall, cap­tured in 1936 by a COUN­TRY LIFE pho­tog­ra­pher, is thought to be Lady Dorothy Walpole

Poul­try should be kept in­doors to guard against con­tam­i­na­tion

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