Defra is stepping up surveillance for avian flu in the east of England, after a spate of recent cases of highly pathogenic H5N1 on the Continent. It has asked wild bird reserves in East Anglia, Northamptonshire and the southeast of England to undertake patrols for dead wild birds because of fears that migration from affected parts of Europe could bring the H5N1 virus to the east coast. "The risk remains low but increased," said chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds. "We we are keeping our levels of surveillance under review." Britain's turkey industry is based in the east of England, as well as numerous chicken farms and meat plants.

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