Professor Rob Fraser, one of the School's experts in agricultural economics, was invited to attend the first meeting of the Defra Science Advisory Council Exotic Diseases subgroup in November. The subgroup considered the latest developments around avian influenza, following the confirmation of a case of avian flu in a duck-breeding farm in Yorkshire.
The flu strain was identified as the H5 virus, not the H5N1 strain which can be deadly to humans. Therefore the risk to public health was very low.
The European Commission said that the outbreak was likely to be linked to migratory birds possibly swans heading south for the winter, and to cases in the Netherlands and Germany earlier in the month. The case is the first in the UK since 2008 when chickens on a farm in Banbury, Oxfordshire, tested positive for bird flu.