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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 14:03 GMT
Bird flu meeting held in village
Swan herder
Workers at the swannery have been given flu jabs as a precaution
A public meeting is being held in a Dorset village near to where five dead swans have tested positive for the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Officers from the county council, Defra, Health Protection Agency and police will be at Strangways Village Hall in Abbotsbury on Friday evening.

They will provide information and answer questions from local people.

A fifth swan at Abbotsbury Swannery, near Chesil Beach, has tested positive for bird flu, Defra said.

Bill Jaggs, Dorset County Council's head of regulatory services, said: "We understand that local people have concerns or questions.

"This meeting is about getting across the facts of the situation, reassuring local people and answering any questions that they may have."

No culling

Three swans found on 27 and 31 December and 4 January tested positive for avian influenza last week.

A fourth swan carrying the virus was found dead at the swannery last Friday.

Tests on three others found dead alongside it proved negative for the strain.

Culling has been ruled out so far but there are restrictions on movements of captive birds nearby.

Defra said there was currently no evidence to suggest the disease was widespread among wild birds in the area, but officials were closely monitoring the situation.

Anyone finding 10 or more dead or dying wild gulls, waders, ducks, or geese in the same place in Dorset should call the Defra helpline on 08459 33 55 77.

Friday's meeting begins at 1900 GMT.

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