Bird flu reaches Britain

A swan found dead in Scotland tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. There is now a 1,000 square kilometre restriction zone in the area for poultry.Experts have put a three kilometres protection zone around the site in the village of Cellardyke where the dead swan was found.

Now tests are being carried out on 14 birds for the H5N1 virus. Bird flu dominated the headlines in Friday’s British papers.

The Sun has called it “the day we all dreaded”, while the Guardian says avian flu is “almost certain to spread to wild birds across the UK”.

The Daily Telegraph adds that the most likely human victims will be poultry farmers, who will be bankrupted.

But the Mirror calls for calm, saying people have a better chance of winning the lottery than catching the virus.

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A stockpile of 14.6 million courses of the antiviral drug Tamiflu is also being built up by the British autthorities.

Bird flu has killed more than 100 people world-wide since the H5N1 strain of the disease reappeared. The bulk of the deaths have been in Asia.

As the UK dealt with a whirlwind of media hype, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stepped into the fray over bird flu saying that the world’s rich nations were too slow in responding to the first cases of bird flu, contributing a mere 36 million U.S. dollars to the fight against the disease.

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