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Brussels, 13 February 2006

Avian influenza H5 confirmed in a swan in Slovenia: Slovenian authorities implement the same measures as in Greece and Italy

The Slovenian authorities today informed the European Commission of a confirmed case of avian influenza virus H5 in swan. The Slovenian Laboratory for Avian influenza has made the first analysis, and samples have been sent to the EU Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza in Weybridge (United Kingdom) for further tests. The Slovenian authorities have given a commitment to the European Commission to apply immediately the same precautionary measures as those set out in the Commission Decision adopted for Greece on Friday, and applied in Italy during the week end.

The measures being applied by Slovenia are, as for Greece and Italiy, the establishment of a high risk area (a 3 km protection zone) around the area where the swan was found, and a surrounding surveillance zone of 10 km. The Slovenian authorities are in close contact with their Austrian counterpart, since the 10km surveillance area crosses the Slovenian-Austrian border.

In the protection zone, poultry must be kept indoors, movement of poultry is banned except directly to the slaughterhouse and the dispatch of meat outside the zone is forbidden except where products have undergone the controls provided for in EU food controls legislation (i.e meat sourced from healthy animals in registered farms, subject to ante and post mortem checks by vets in the slaughterhouse). In both the protection zone and the surveillance zone, on-farm biosecurity measures must be strengthened, hunting of wild birds is banned and disease awareness of poultry owners and their families must be carried out.

The avian influenza situation in Italy, Greece, Slovenia and other affected countries will be reviewed by the Standing Committee on the Food and Chain and Animal Health which meets on 16-17 February.

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