Tests carried out on dead goose

TESTS are being carried out on a dead Canada Goose which was found in an Essex town to establish if it had bird flu.A member of the public alerted police to the discovery in Star Lane, Dunmow, and officers reported the find to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

TESTS are being carried out on a dead Canada Goose which was found in an Essex town to establish if it had bird flu.

A member of the public alerted police to the discovery in Star Lane, Dunmow, and officers reported the find to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. (Defra)

After the discovery on Sunday, officials took the bird's body away for tests at its laboratory in Weybridge.

Inspector Jim Shaw, of Dunmow police, said: “A member of the public phoned us about it. We then told Defra.”


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A spokesman for Defra said it was not possible to comment on individual cases due to the large numbers of dead birds being reported by concerned members of the public.

He said since Feburary 21, there had been 1,100 bird remains bought in for testing.

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But he stressed: “If any of the samples came back positive obviously we would go public immediately as we did with the case in Scotland.”

The spokesman said it was not possible to say how long the test results would take to come through as it depended on a number of factors, including the level of decomposition of the bird's body.

There are 15 types of bird, or avian, flu and the most contagious strains - which are usually fatal - are H5 and H7.

The dead swan recently discovered in Fife, Scotland, had H5N1, one of nine different types of the H5 flu and the most deadly. It can prove fatal to humans.

Wild ducks and other migratory wildfowl carry the viruses naturally but are unlikely to develop any infection.

The risk is that they pass the virus on to domestic birds which are much more susceptible to the virus.

It was thought bird flu did not affect humans until the first cases in Hong Kong in 1997. It was then discovered it could be caught through close contact with live infected birds.

Because bird flu is carried by birds it is impossible to prevent its spread. However it is hoped that with proper controls, such as preventing wild birds getting into poultry houses, the disease will not be passed on to domestic flocks.

Experts will also monitor the migratory pattern of wild birds and attempt to target infected flocks on arrival.

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