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Learning English - Words in the News
29 August, 2005 - Published 13:37 GMT
World slow to face bird flu threat

Plans for a global response to a mass outbreak of bird flu in humans are taking shape, but are far from complete. In some places warnings are not being followed. This report from Damian Grammaticus:

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On a lake in western Siberia, flocks of ducks and geese are roaming free. Here, people are ignoring warnings from their government that all domestic poultry should be kept indoors because of the risk of bird flu. There have been bird flu outbreaks in dozens of Russian villages in the past fortnight, many in this area. The virus was brought here from Asia by migrating wild birds. Ornithologists in Russia say that wild fowl will soon be moving on from here before autumn comes.

The latest research shows some birds will head towards the Mediterranean and southern Europe. Other flocks will travel towards Germany, Britain and Ireland. It's possible they could carry the bird flu virus with them: and the ornithologists say health officials in Europe should be monitoring the wild birds and preparing to deal with any outbreaks of disease, because if bird flu infects humans, it is in many cases fatal.

Damian Grammaticus, BBC, Moscow

Listen to the words

the collective noun for birds

roaming free
not restricted in where they can go

domestic poultry
not wild birds but those specially kept or bred by farmers, particularly chickens and ducks

when a disease suddenly starts in a particular area

travelling from one part of the world to another, usually to move away from cold weather

people who watch and study birds

watching and following and keeping details of the movement of the birds

causing death

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