DEFRA defends avian flu decision

DEFRA has defended its decision not to inform the public about a low pathogenic avian flu case last October.


This incident only came to light in the chief veterinary officer’s annual report, Animal Health 2005, published earlier this week.


A spokesman at DEFRA said: “If we publicised every case when it happened, it would be considered by some as a waste of time.” 


In October 2005, 13 free-range geese in Somerset tested positive for antibodies to H5N2 and H5N7, as part of the UK National Avian Influenza Survey in domestic poultry. 


Movement restrictions were imposed for a week, and the subsequent veterinary inquiry concluded that the geese were healthy and the positive antibody was: “due to previous exposure to low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAI).


“It is not uncommon to find LPAI viruses in wild birds; these geese had a high level of exposure to wild birds,” said the report.