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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 21:28 GMT 22:28 UK
Bird flu contingency plan set out
Dead chicken
Turkey and Romania have culled thousands of birds
Contingency plans for dealing with an outbreak of bird flu have been unveiled by the Scottish Executive.

Under the plans, poultry in infected areas would be slaughtered and movement restrictions imposed on birds and eggs.

The 67-page document, published on the executive's website, mirrors the approach that would be taken UK-wide.

In the event of a confirmed case, a six mile (10km) cordon would be thrown round the area and special preventive measures introduced, the document said.

'Movement restrictions'

The plans were outlined as concern grew over the virus spreading across Europe.

On Monday, Greece became the latest country to report a case of bird flu.

It has not been confirmed as the lethal H5N1 form of the bird flu virus, which has been linked to more than 60 human deaths in Asia.

Scottish Executive officials said the timing of its publication was "just coincidence".

It said updated plans on dealing with an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease were also being published.

Preferred culling methods will vary depending on circumstances such as the number, species and location of the birds
Scottish Executive document

The contingency plan sets out how movement restrictions would be placed on poultry, eggs, manure and bedding litter.

But captive birds, other than racing pigeons and poultry, would be excluded, although owners would need to report any sickness or deaths.

Liaison officers from Scotland would join a UK disease control centre.

"Preferred culling methods will vary depending on circumstances such as the number, species and location of the birds, layout of the farm or poultry house, staff availability etc", said the document.

"Methods of killing that might be used are: exposure of birds to gas; percussion devices; barbiturate injection; electrical stun/kill; neck dislocation; maceration."

Routine vaccination

Strict biosecurity measures would be enforced in poultry premises to cut down the risk of the disease spreading.

But the countryside would be kept open and the presumption in favour of access would be maintained.

In the immediate response to a disease outbreak in Scotland a local disease control centre (LDCC) would be established, and a regional operations director would be appointed.

Emergency vaccination would be considered alongside other measures, but would not be an alternative to culling poultry on infected premises.

The document also sets out procedures to protect staff at risk.

Experts have advised that routine vaccination of poultry workers and vets with human flu vaccine was not recommended, said the document.

But it should be used in a confirmed outbreak of bird flu, to protect against the possibility of the virus mixing genetically with human flu virus.

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