STRATFORD District Council is reminding people not to touch any sick or dead birds as avian flu remains rife among wild bird populations.
The district council is working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the RSPCA to manage the situation and protect public health and the risk to other birds.
The present A(H5N1) strain is highly pathogenic to other birds, but the risk to human health is considered very low.
It is vital that people do not touch sick live birds or bird carcasses, and infection control measures may be necessary if they do.
Anyone who has been in contact with sick or dead birds or their droppings, while not wearing PPE, should make sure any footwear is properly cleaned and thoroughly wash their hands in soap and water.
They should then notify the UK Health Security Agency’s West Midlands Health Protection Team on 0344 225 3560 so public health experts can determine if antiviral medication and active surveillance of their condition is necessary.
Following a number of detections of avian influenza (bird flu) in wild birds across Great Britain, the Chief Veterinary Officers from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the whole of Great Britain, to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds.
And from today (Monday) it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow the strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.
Coun Christopher Kettle, community protection spokesman for the council, said: “The UKHSA has made it clear that the risk of the disease transferring from birds to humans is considered to be very low. To ensure this situation remains, the advice we have received is that members of the public should not touch or go near sick or dying birds and any dead birds found should be reported to the district council on 01789 267 575 to assist with disposal.
“Posters remain in the affected areas asking people not to feed the ducks or swans and reminding people to keep to footpaths and to keep dogs on leads.”
Anyone who sees sick wildfowl should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.