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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 18:18 GMT 19:18 UK
11 ill as bird flu tests continue
Farm near Pwllheli, Llyn Peninsula
Tests are being carried out at a farm near Pwllheli, Llyn Peninsula
Officials investigating two possible cases of bird flu in north Wales have now traced 36 people who may have been in contact with the disease.

The figure has risen from 26, and 11 have shown flu-like symptoms, but none is said to have been seriously ill.

Officials said there was not a "significant risk" to public health.

One mild form of bird flu has been confirmed at a smallholding in Conwy, and tests should reveal if there is a second case on a Llyn Peninsula farm.

The National Public Health Service for Wales defined possible contacts of bird flu as people who had been in contact with affected premises, or have either handled or come very close to known infected poultry.

Cases of spread to people remain very unusual and are usually associated with very close contact with birds
Marion Lyons, National Public Health Service for Wales

It also included those who had had close contact with another person who has or is suspected as having bird flu.

Four people - two from Wales and two from north-west England - have been found to have contracted bird flu following the outbreak at Corwen.

A further four are being treated as having had the disease.

The latest figures come as officials examine two properties.

The confirmed case involved a smallholding at Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, near Cerrigydrudion, Conwy.

Owners Tony Williams and Barbara Cowling, who have tested negative for the virus, called in a vet after their Rhode Island Red chickens began to die.

Conwy smallholding where bird flu has been confirmed
An outbreak was confirmed at the Conwy smallholding on Thursday

They bought the chickens at Chelford Market at Macclesfield, Cheshire, some 70 miles (112 km) away, on 7 May.

Police at scene

A total of 30 chickens from the smallholding have now been slaughtered after 15 birds died. Officials have stressed that the disease found at the Conwy farm was the H7N2 strain of bird flu, not the more virulent H5N1.

The second possible case emerged on Saturday about 35 miles (56 km) away, at a farm on the outskirts of Efailnewydd, near Pwllheli. It has also been linked to the market.

Police are at the scene but Welsh Assembly Government officials said the farm would not be closed off unless test results found the presence of avian flu.

Marion Lyons, of the National Public Health Service for Wales, said: "We do not believe there is a significant risk to public health in Wales.

"Bird flu is still primarily a disease of birds. Cases of spread to people remain very unusual and are usually associated with very close contact with birds.

"We are contacting every individual who has been in close contact with the people who are cases so people who are not contacted by us should not worry.

"People we have identified as contacts are being offered medication to reduce the severity of any impact from the infection. We are continuing to investigate and identify potential contacts today."

A helpline has been set up to offer information about bird flu. The number is 0845 600 3678, and it is open from 0700 - 2000 BST daily.

  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) wants to hear from anyone - who has not already been contacted - who purchased from or supplied to Chelford Market, Cheshire, on Monday, 7 May, or any poultry keeper who visited the market on that day whose birds have subsequently become ill.

    They are asked to contact their local animal health office or the Defra helpline 08459 335577. Lines are open between 0900 - 1700 BST seven days a week.

    "We certainly have to keep investigating"

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