BIRD FLU OUTBREAK: Health alert as wild birds across UK test POSITIVE for virus

Friday, December 23, 2016
By Paul Martin

WILD birds in Somerset, Leicestershire and Scotland have tested positive for bird flu today.

Fri, Dec 23, 2016

Defra confirmed a case of H5N8 bird flu in dead wild wigeons in Somerset and Leicestershire.

And a a wild peregrine falcon found in Dumfries and Galloway has tested positive for the same strain, Scottish officials announced.

The news comes just a day after the Welsh Government confirmed a case of the virus in a dead wild wigeon in Carmarthenshire.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: “Today’s confirmed findings mean that avian flu has now been found in wild birds in widely separated parts of England, Wales and Scotland.

This is far from unexpected and reflects our risk assessments and the measures we have taken including introducing a housing order for poultry and a ban on gatherings. We’ll continue to work with ornithological groups to further strengthen surveillance and our understanding of the extent of infection in wild birds.

The risk to kept birds cannot be eliminated by housing alone. This virus can be carried into buildings on people and things to infect birds. Good biosecurity measures are essential. We also need people to continue to report findings of dead wild birds so that we can investigate.

It is important to reiterate Public Health England’s advice that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.”

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: “This case of H5N8 in a falcon in Dumfries and Galloway confirms that Avian Influenza is present in wild birds in Scotland.

“This underlines the crucial importance of bird keepers and members of the public remaining vigilant for signs of disease in domestic or wild birds.”

And last week Defra confirmed an outbreak of the H5N8 strain of bird flu at a turkey farm in Louth, Lincolnshire.

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