"The deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza was detected in three dead swans in southwest England, the U.K. environment ministry said.
The outbreak in the Chesil Beach area of Dorset is the first of the year and only the fourth time the H5N1 strain has been detected in the U.K. The beach is near Abbotsbury Swannery, a colony of nesting mute swans. The ministry didn't say if the dead birds were found there.
"No disease has been found in domestic birds, and a program of surveillance is being carried out in the local wild bird population,'' the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said today in an e-mailed statement. "There will be no culling of wild birds because such action may disperse birds further and would not aid control."
The H5N1 strain of bird flu can be lethal in humans, and 216 of the 348 people who have contracted the illness since 2003 have died, according to Jan. 3 World Health Organization figures.
The ministry set up a 3-kilometer (2-mile) control area and a 10-kilometer monitoring area around the site, banning gatherings of domestic birds and requiring bird-keepers to house their fowl and isolate them from wild birds. The telephone line for John Houston, general manager of the swannery, was busy.
The strain of bird flu has previously only been found once in wild birds in Britain, when a single dead swan was found in Scotland in April 2006. Since then, there have been outbreaks at poultry farms in Suffolk, eastern England, in February and November last year, leading to the culling of thousands of domestic birds."
So High-Path H5N1 is now hitting wild fowl in the UK... This is a fantastically doom-ridden news piece!