Web Zap*Germs Archive

October 26, 2005

Avian Flu Reaches Germany & UK; Bird Imports Banned in EU

Dead birds in Germany have tested positive for H5N1 avian flu, as the disease continues to move west from Asia due to migrating wild fowl and transported birds. The European Union is responding by banning imports of all captive birds (including parrots and other exotic birds), plus a ban on all bird fairs, exhibitions and shows.

Many EU nations may to follow the French example, and order all poultry and game birds to be locked indoors.

In the UK, an imported parrot being held in quarantine died after being exposed to quarantined birds from Taiwan. BusinessWeek has a good background article on the European "panic" response to bird-flu spread and vaccine stockpiling difficulties.

[Update 15 Nov 2005: It turns out that 53 birds have died in UK quarantine!]

[Update 27 Oct 2005: Slate has an interesting piece, describing how the UK plans to kill and dispose of the bodies of millions of birds, if an avian-flu epidemic takes hold in the British Isles.]

Regarding potential H5N1 spread to North America, experts believe it will not occur before 2006 -- but birds migrating across the Bering Strait from Russia would be the likely source.

CDC Avian-Flu Travel Advice


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