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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Pause in bird flu testing updates
Centre manger Douglas Gray inspects a dead swan at SAC Veterinary Service in Aberdeen
Testing will continue for several months, ministers confirmed
No further information on bird flu tests will be released by the Scottish Executive until the end of this week.

It said it would issue the results once a week rather than give daily updates, although details of any positive tests would be announced immediately.

The executive said testing would continue for several months.

Dozens of birds are being analysed and priority is being given to those found within the "at risk" zone created after a swan with bird flu was found in Fife.

Virologist John Oxford said it was a "very good sign" that no new cases had emerged.

BBC Scotland environment correspondent Louise Batchelor said it was now "open to question" whether the bird found with the H5N1 virus in Cellardyke, Fife, on 29 March was in fact a mute swan.

Everyone in Britain now knows the threat from a dead duck or a dead swan at this particular moment
Prof John Oxford
Virologist

DNA tests are now taking place in an attempt to establish that fact.

Our correspondent said that if it was found to be a mute swan then it was likely to have been infected by a bird which flew to Scotland.

However, there was still a "marginal chance" that the dead swan may have flown in from northern Germany or somewhere else in eastern Europe as a result of the cold snap in February, she added.

A six-mile (10km) surveillance zone and 1.8 mile (3km) protection zone in place around Cellardyke will remain for at least 30 days and 21 days respectively.

Over the weekend, a large number of people called a special helpline set up to investigate reports of dead birds, but the number was lower than at the end of last week.

Positive sign

Prof Oxford said no new cases was a positive sign, but no reason to relax.

Speaking about the dead swan in Fife, he said: "It had lots of opportunities to infect other swans or other birds, so the fact none have been detected is very good news.

"But it doesn't mean we are over the hump, because worldwide every day someone is dying, getting too close to a swan.

"Everyone in Britain now knows the threat from a dead duck or a dead swan at this particular moment."


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