Avian flu ruffles feathers
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