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By Humphrey Carter BIRD FLU inspection and prevention teams returned to the Albufera natural park near Alcudia in the north east of Majorca, one of the Balearics' eight “black spots” to carry out further tests on migratory birds yesterday. There are a total of eight “bird flu black spots” in the Balearics and 106 birds have been tested by Environment Ministry since Spain decided to start taking precautionary measures as the bird flu virus started to spread through Europe. tests have so far been carried out and all but three have tested negative. The Ministry is still awaiting the results of the remaining three tests to be released. Yesterday, Environment Ministry experts demonstrated how they are carrying out their investigations. The birds are caught in giant nets, samples are taken to be analysed and the bird released. The eight area being closely monitored, apart from the Albufera, are el Salorbrar in Campos and Son Navata in Felanitx, Majorca, S´albufera des Grau in Mahon and the areas of Mercadal Lluriac and Tirant in Minorca and in Ibiza, Ses Salines and Ses Feixes de Ibiza as well as s´Estany Pudent in Formentera. The situation in the Balearics, and across Spain, appears to be under control with no cases reported as yet but, experts have warned that it is not Eastern Europe which poses the three but Africa as many of the birds which spend the winter on the continent, where bird flu has been widely detected, will soon be returning to Spain and British Isles. Yesterday central government said that each region has now drawn up its own bird flu response plan, in compliance with the World Health Organisation and European Union guidelines. Here in the Balearics, all private and public hospitals have been asked to draw up a contingency plan, in the event of a pandemic. Until then, a Balearic health service on each island has been fully prepared to respond to isolated cases of bird flu. The first of the vaccines have already arrived with thousands more expected over the coming months. Extra controls of flights and passengers arriving from bird-flu hit countries are already in place at ports of entry and reports and dead birds are being taken seriously and each and every one being carefully examined with all birds tested.


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