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Bird keepers reminded of risk of Avian Flu

People who keep birds and poultry are being reminded to be aware of the risk of bird flu, following confirmed cases in swans on Ulverston canal.

Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards Animal Health team is reminding bird keepers to remain alert for any signs of the disease and to report suspected cases immediately. People should also ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises and follow all official guidance.

Wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter period can spread Avian influenza to poultry and other captive birds.

The risk to public health from the virus remains very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that the disease poses a very low food safety risk.

The reminder follows the introduction of an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the country on 11 November 2020.

The prevention zone means bird keepers across the country must:

  • Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;
  • Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
  • Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures;
  • Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;
  • Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

Further information on how to help prevent the spread of the disease can be found at http://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu

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