The Government's chief scientific adviser said that the chances of the avian flu virus mutating into a form that spreads between people is "very low".
The Department of Rural Affairs was called by 3,500 people last Friday and Saturday. Tensions among the public increased after details of a leaked government contingency plan warned that a pandemic could kill 100,000 children in the UK.
Sir David King, speaking on ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme, said that the Government was preparing for it as a "very low possibility". He emphasised that no more wild birds had tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain since a case was found in a swan in Fife last week and that British poultry had also been unaffected by the virus.

A study by Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, was reported yesterday by The Sunday Times. He advised the Government that 50,000 child deaths could be prevented by a widespread closure of schools. He said that it would take just a single case to be confirmed in a teacher or pupil for all the schools in a county or borough to be closed.

Experts at the Central Science Laboratory in York are continuing DNA tests on the dead swan, which was found washed up in the harbour of the coastal town and in an advanced state of decay, with its head missing, making it hard to identify. Finding out which species the bird belongs to will help epidemiologists know if it was migratory and where it might have come from.

Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister, warned against being complacent because other European countries affected by bird flu had seen more than one case. He said: "That doesn't mean there may not be another case in Scotland or somewhere else in the UK at some time over the next few weeks and months."

So far, more than 100 people worldwide have died of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of the disease, which virus cannot pass easily from one person to another and therefore currently does not pose a large-scale threat to humans. The experts fear the virus could gain this ability if it mutates. They say it could trigger a flu pandemic in its new form, potentially putting millions of human lives at risk.