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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 April 2006, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Bird flu restrictions are lifted
Whooper swans having a rest
Vets believe the dead whooper swan did not spread the disease
Some bird flu restrictions, imposed after a dead whooper swan at Cellardyke in Fife tested positive for a strain of the H5N1 virus, have been lifted.

The measures, limiting the movement of poultry and eggs in parts of eastern Scotland, were introduced on 5 April.

Tests since then have established that no further cases have been found.

The immediate 3km protection zone will lapse, but a 10km control zone on the movement of poultry and captive birds will not be removed until 1 May.

The final restrictions will only be lifted if there are no further positive tests for the virus.

So far, tests for the virus - which can be passed to humans - on all dead birds across Scotland have proved negative.

First Minister Jack McConnell announced the lifting of the restrictions to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

Transport restrictions

Vets now believe the swan which had the virus died before it could spread the disease.

But the discovery of the bird at Cellardyke harbour prompted fears of a possible outbreak of bird flu in Scotland.

Restrictions followed and local farms were warned not to transport poultry or eggs in or out of the area.

First Minister Jack McConnell
Mr McConnell said reaction to the outbreak was quick and effective

The Scottish Executive intends that the Wild Bird Risk Area - east of the M90/A90 stretching from the Forth Bridge to Stonehaven - will lapse on 1 May, subject to a veterinary risk assessment.

The restrictions on the movement of birds are also due to end on that date.

In making the announcements, Mr McConnell praised the work of vets and other officials who, he said, reacted quickly and effectively to what could have been a serious outbreak.

He said people had responded "calmly and reasonably".

"I think we all know the damage that can be done when people panic," said Mr McConnell.

The H5N1 virus, which causes bird flu, does not pose a large-scale threat to humans, as it cannot pass easily from one person to another.

Experts, however, fear the virus could mutate at some point in the future, and in its new form trigger a flu pandemic, potentially putting millions of human lives at risk.

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