Swan sanctuary fenced after avian flu outbreak confirmed in Worcester
Health chiefs have warned the public to avoid contact with live or dead birds after an outbreak of bird flu was confirmed in Worcester.
Worcester City Council has now blocked off part of the riverside path in an attempt to protect the public and stop the spread between the town’s swans.
A metal fence has been erected around the steps leading to the Swan Sanctuary area near Worcester Bridge.
The council also urged residents not to feed the swans until the outbreak is under control and to avoid touching loose feathers and surfaces contaminated with bird waste.
It comes after the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) confirmed the presence of avian influenza A (H5N1), also known under the name avian influenza, in wild bird populations in Worcestershire and the Stratford area of ââWarwickshire.
The British Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is now urging people in Worcestershire not to touch any sick or dead wild birds – with bird flu confirmed in swan populations around Diglis Basin in Worcester.
Worcester City Council, UKHSA and Stratford District Council said they were working with APHA and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) to manage the situation and protect public health and risks to other birds.
The bird flu strain was first diagnosed in birds at a wild bird rescue center near Droitwich last week.
A statement released by Wychbold Swan Rescue explained how “devastated” they were to have to slaughter their birds after the outbreak.
Swans in Diglis Basin in Worcester then fell ill, with the same strain of avian flu confirmed.
Dead birds were collected around the River Avon in Stratford town center and sent to the APHA lab for testing, and the results showed the same strain of bird flu was present.
Strain A (H5N1) is highly pathogenic to other birds, but the risk to human health is considered “very low”.
However, health chiefs have warned that it is essential that people do not touch sick live birds or bird carcasses, and infection control measures may be needed if they do.
Angela Cartwright, communicable disease control consultant with UKHSA in the West Midlands, said: âThe risk to the public from this strain of bird flu is very low, however it is important that people do not touch any birds. sick or dead.
“As a precaution, anyone who is not wearing appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) when in contact with feces or birds in an area where infection has been confirmed will require close monitoring and antiviral treatment for 10 days from the last contact with infected birds.
In areas where infection has been confirmed or suspected, anyone who has been in contact with sick or dead birds or their droppings, without wearing the correct PPE, should ensure that all footwear is properly cleaned and wash thoroughly. hands with soap and water.
They should then notify the UK Health Security Agency’s West Midlands Health Protection Team on 0344 225 3560 so that public health experts can determine if antiviral drugs and active monitoring of their condition are needed.
If someone has handled infected birds while wearing proper PPE, they should still be actively monitored.
Councilor Andy Stafford, chairman of the Worcester City Council Environment Committee, said: “Worcester City Council has moved quickly to fence off the area around the town’s Swan Sanctuary, and I would like to ask people to do not feed the swans until this outbreak is under control.
âFood encourages them to come together and this increases the risk of the disease spreading.
“If you find a dead bird let us know at www.worcester.gov.uk/reportit or on 01905 722 233. Do not touch or move dead birds and keep dogs away from them.
Following several avian influenza detections in wild birds across Britain, veterinary chiefs from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain -Brittany, to mitigate the risk of disease spread among poultry. and captive birds.
As of Wednesday 5 p.m., all poultry farmers are legally required to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks.
In the prevention zone, people with more than 500 birds must now restrict access to non-essential visitors, change clothes and shoes before entering the enclosures and ensure that vehicles are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Small “backyard owners” with only a small number of birds, including chickens, ducks and geese, have been ordered to limit risks and watch for signs of disease.
Avian flu circulates naturally among wild birds, with migration from the UK to mainland Europe during winter being a common cause of its spread.