An updated and revised strategy to screen wild birds for the presence of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been announced. The strategy has been developed by Defra in partnership with the devolved administrations.

Defra's targeted surveillance strategy will involve sampling for the disease in areas which have higher numbers of migrating waterfowl and larger poultry populations.

The programme, being introduced in time for the autumn migration of water birds from more northerly latitudes, will have three main elements:

  • Testing of live birds (which are then released);
  • Testing shot birds (shot as part of normal legal wild fowling activities); and
  • Testing certain species of dead wild birds found in designated areas.

Species thought to be a greater risk for introducing avian flu, in particular ducks, geese, swans, gulls and waders, will be targeted.

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