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Brussels, 16 February 2006

Avian influenza confirmed in swans in Hungary: authorities applying precautionary measures

The Hungarian authorities have informed the European Commission of confirmed cases of the H5 avian influenza virus in 3 dead wild swans found in the county of Bács-Kiskun, in Southern Hungary. Samples from the dead birds are now being sent to the Community Reference Laboratory in Weybridge for further tests to determine whether this is the H5N1 strain. The Hungarian authorities are applying the same precautionary measures as other Member States in which the H5N1 virus has been confirmed (Greece, Italy, Germany) or in which it is suspected (Slovenia, Austria) in wild birds. The Commission will adopt a Decision at 17:00 today on the precautionary measures to be applied in Hungary, just as it did for the other affected Member States. The precautionary measures include the establishment of a 3km protection zone around the area where the swans were found and a surrounding surveillance zone of 10 km. 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 under very limited conditions. In both the protection and surveillance zone, on-farm biosecurity measures must be strengthened, hunting of wild birds is banned. Disease awareness raising activities for poultry owners and their families must be carried out. The avian influenza situation in all affected countries is being reviewed by the Standing Committee on the Food and Chain and Animal Health, which is meeting today and tomorrow.

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