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Bird flu "no crisis" - Chief Scientist

[Friday 07 April 2006]

THE Government's chief scientist, Sir David King, insisted today that there was "no crisis" over avian flu, despite the finding of a dead swan in Scotland with the deadly H5N1 virus which can spread to human beings.

"No crisis" over bird flu says tio scientist

Almost 1,000 square miles of the east coast of Scotland were yesterday declared a "wild bird risk area" following the confirmation of the virus in a dead swan found there eight days ago. Farmers in that zone are being told to keep their poultry indoors - if possible.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Sir David refused to describe the incident as a "crisis" because although avian flu had now been reported in several parts of Europe, there had been only three cases of it affecting domestic poultry stocks - and the infection had not spread beyond those original outbreaks.

Britain, he said, was probably better prepared to fight a major outbreak of the disease than any other Western nation thanks to lessons learned during the foot and mouth disaster five years ago.

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