Monday 4 March 2024
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Warning after cases of Avian Flu confirmed at Newstead Abbey

Residents are being urged not to interact with wild birds after a confirmed case of avian flu at Newstead Abbey.

Nottinghamshire businesses, schools and residents in possession of poultry and captive birds are being asked to keep them indoors where possible to reduce the risk of avian influenza.

Wild birds migrating to the UK from mainland Europe during the winter months and other wildlife spread the disease, so it is vital to not allow wild birds to mix with chickens, ducks, geese or other birds.

Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. There is no impact on the consumption of properly cooked poultry products including eggs.

Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire currently has positive cases of bird flu on site in wild birds.

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Residents and visitors are advised not to feed wild birds and not to touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that they find. Dog owners are also advised to keep their pets on a lead and take reasonable precautions to reduce exposure to wild waterfowl to minimise the risk of transferring the virus into bird keeping areas.

If anyone finds dead swans, geese or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, they should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

To limit the spread of disease, the Government introduced housing measures in November which means that all bird keepers (whether it is someone who has pet birds or a few chickens, ducks or geese in the back yard to holders of commercial flocks) are legally required to keep them housed and to follow strict biosecurity measures.

If strict biosecurity measures are maintained by poultry keepers, the risk of an outbreak of the disease would be low at their premises.

Key advice for poultry keepers includes to:

  • house or net all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild birds
  • cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control
  • thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis
  • keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points
  • minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds

These housing measures will be kept under regular review as part of the government’s work to protect flocks.

Although the risk to human health from the virus is very low, people can catch bird flu via direct contact with a live or dead bird carrying the virus or via direct contact with bird faeces from a bird carrying the virus. Humans cannot catch bird flu via airborne particles.

Avian influenza is in no way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is not carried in poultry or captive birds.

Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in England to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with avian flu advice which can be found on the website.

Although it is optional for people with less than 50 poultry or captive birds to register their birds with Defra, we are advising people to register so they get regular updates on this order.

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