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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008, 12:57 GMT
Sixth bird flu swan at sanctuary
Swans at Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset
A sixth mute swan has tested positive for H5N1 bird flu
A sixth swan from a sanctuary in Dorset has tested positive for bird flu, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said.

Defra said the mute swan tested on 21 January had the virulent H5N1 strain.

The news came just as restrictions on the movement of poultry and other captive birds in the area around the Abbotsbury swannery were lifted.

Movement restrictions in the wild bird control area remain in place, according to a Defra spokesman.

The first three cases of bird flu were identified at the sanctuary on 10 January but Defra said this sixth case was "not unexpected".

"Our enhanced surveillance of wild birds in the area is continuing, including active patrols to look for dead wild birds," a spokesman said.

Precaution

About 12 members of staff at the sanctuary have been monitored for signs of the disease by the Health Protection Agency, although the risk of infection is said to be low.

Abbotsbury
Defra said the sixth case was not "unexpected"

Workers have been given a course of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu as a precaution.

The Defra spokesman said there was no evidence to suggest "widespread disease in the bird population" but he urged poultry keepers in the area to remain vigilant and report any signs of disease immediately.

The swannery is part of an area of wetland recognised to be of international importance.



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