Public told to be vigilant in bird flu warning
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