Public urged to be careful around sick/dead birds as avian influenza confirmed in the county

Public urged to be careful around sick/dead birds as avian influenza confirmed in the county

People are being reminded to do what they can to help reduce the spread of avian influenza following confirmation of cases in Staffordshire

The two cases were confirmed in wild birds found dead at Chasewater Country Park last week.

Visitors to the country park are being asked not to feed any birds, to keep dogs on leads near the water and stay to the paths. People should not touch or try to rescue sick or injured birds and should report them to the park rangers or to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577. Visitors are asked to follow any guidance on site to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

Officers from Staffordshire County Councils Trading Standards Animal Health team are also advising all bird keepers to remain vigilant and to look out for signs of ill health in their birds. They should follow strict bio-security rules. This includes ensuring wild birds cannot have access to any bedding, feed or water intended for use for kept poultry or birds. In addition to this, steps must be taken to reduce the movements of people into or out of the areas where birds are kept.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “We have seen first-hand earlier this year the impact of an outbreak of avian influenza so it’s really important we are aware and do what we can to reduce the spread of it.

“While the risk to the public from this strain of avian flu is very low, people visiting our country parks including Chasewater should follow any local guidance. People should not touch or try to rescue injured birds as they could be infected. Anyone spotting injured or dead birds should report them to the Defra helpline.”

Poultry and bird keepers across Staffordshire are being encouraged to maintain good bio-security amongst their birds, to help reduce the risks of avian influenza.

In November, the government introduced an Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) to help prevent disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds. Whilst there is no legal requirement to house birds, the introduction of the AIPZ means that all bird keepers must follow strict bio-security rules. This includes tighter controls on the movement of birds and for keeping records for some residents in the Burton area, as a result of the latest Willington outbreak.

Bird owners must ensure wild birds cannot have access to any bedding, feed or water intended for use for kept poultry or birds. In addition to this, steps must be taken to reduce the movements of people into or out of the areas where birds are kept.

Further advice for bird keepers on reducing the spread of avian influenza is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu

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