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Risk-based surveillance for h5n1 avian influenza virus in wild birds in Great Britain
  1. L. C. Snow, BSc, MSc, PhD1,
  2. S. E. Newson, BSc, PhD2,
  3. A. J. Musgrove, BSc, PhD2,
  4. P. A. Cranswick, BSc3,
  5. H. Q. P. Crick, BA, PhD2 and
  6. J. W. Wilesmith, BVSc, HonMFPHM, DipECVPH, MRCVS4
  1. 1 Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB
  2. 2 British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU
  3. 3 Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BT
  4. 4 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Page Street, London SW1P 4PQ


Recent outbreaks of the h5n1 strain of avian influenza in Europe have highlighted the need for continuous surveillance and early detection to reduce the likelihood of a major outbreak in the commercial poultry industry. In Great Britain (gb), one possible route by which h5n1 could be introduced into domestic poultry is through migratory wild birds from Europe and Asia. Extensive monitoring data on the 24 wild bird species considered most likely to introduce the virus into gb, and analyses of local poultry populations, were used to develop a risk profile to identify the areas where h5n1 is most likely to enter and spread to commercial poultry. The results indicate that surveillance would be best focused on areas of Norfolk, Suffolk, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, south-west England and the Welsh borders, with areas of lower priority in Anglesey, south-west Wales, north-east Aberdeenshire and the Firth of Forth area of Scotland. These areas have significant poultry populations including a large number of free-range flocks, and a high abundance of the 24 wild bird species.

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