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Animal Health and Welfare (14-09-2005)

National surveillance programmes for avian flu approved and further wild bird surveillance measures agreed

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health today unanimously endorsed a Commission proposal to approve Member States’ individual surveillance plans for avian influenza, and to provide up to 50% co-funding for the programmes. In total, the EU will contribute around €884 000 towards the costs of these surveillance programmes for the period July 2005 to January 2006. The approved programmes outline the number of samples that will be taken from both wild and domestic birds in each Member State, and the type and number of tests that will be done. In certain cases, the type of birds that will be tested is also detailed. In line with guidelines on better surveillance of wild birds, presented by experts at a working group meeting on September 6th (see MEMO/05/304), a number of Member States further increased the surveillance of wild birds in their national programmes. In total, around 25 000 tests in wild birds have now been submitted for co-financing for 2005/06 – a three fold increase on the number of tests carried out on wild birds for the same period last year.

In a separate decision, the Standing Committee unanimously backed a Commission proposal to extend the requirements for wild bird surveillance, so that wild bird, hunting and other relevant organisations will be obliged to immediately notify national competent authorities of any abnormal mortality or significant disease outbreaks occurring in wild birds.

For more information on avian influenza, see http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/avian/index_en.htm