Pub­lic told to be vig­i­lant in bird flu warn­ing

Southport Visiter - - Front Page -

BIRD flu has been de­tected in a num­ber of wild birds on Mersey­side - spark­ing a warn­ing for the pub­lic to ‘re­main vig­i­lant’.

DEFRA - the gov­ern­ment de­part­ment for en­vi­ron­ment, food and ru­ral af­fairs - has is­sued guid­ance for the pub­lic af­ter ‘highly path­o­genic avian in­fluenza’ was found in five wild birds on Mersey­side.

The re­port, which was not more spe­cific on which area of Mersey­side, con­firmed that a num­ber of ducks, a gull and a cor- mo­rant were in­fected with strain ‘H5N8’ of the dis­ease.

How­ever, Pub­lic Health Eng­land has con­firmed that the risk to hu­mans from the virus is “very low” – and that avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK con­sumers.

The strain found on Mersey­side is sep­a­rate to those at the cen­tre of a ma­jor out­break in 2006.

Any­one keep­ing poul­try – whether on a large farm or just a few birds in their back yard – is now also re­quired by law to keep the an­i­mals un­der cover and sep­a­rate from wild birds un­til the risk is con­sid­ered to be con­tained. They have also banned ‘gath­er­ings’ of poul­try – such as at mar­kets or coun­try fairs.

The news comes as the dis­ease was dis­cov­ered on a poul­try farm in Lin­colnshire, lead­ing to re­stric­tions be­ing put in place.

The same strain has also been found in wild birds in Eng­land, Scot­land and Wales.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic are en­cour­aged to re­port dead wild water­fowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds to DEFRA, who will be able to col­lect the birds and test them, on 03459 33 55 77.

Bird flu found in Mersey­side

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