In the course of 2005 the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza Asian lineage HPAI H5N1 virus spread from Southeast Asia to SW Siberia, Kazakhstan and the Southern Urals. Migratory birds were suspected of playing a role in the spread of the disease. This meant that the EU could be under direct threat as a number of waterbirds (geese, ducks and shorebirds in particular) were known to migrate through the infected areas to the EU in the northern winter. The European Commission (DG Environment) therefore asked Wetlands International and EURING to undertake the present study.
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