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Avian Flu Strain H5N6 found in dead swans at Baulking Lake

on Fri, 16/02/2018 - 10:24am

It has been confirmed that two dead swans found in the last week at Baulking Lake died from Avian Influenza, Strain: H5N6.

DEFRA advice is if you own birds (chickens etc), it is important to keep them contained, and monitored for signs of illness. If you suspect any type of bird flu you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.  Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease (click)

The Animal and Plant Health Agency pages, found via the Defra website, are an excellent source of advice, guidance and latest information; they cover all the frequently asked questions that members of the public, smallholders or commercial farmers are likely to ask.  This includes concerns around human health and how to report concerns of dead birds.  The APHA pages can be accessed from the DEFRA website:   Avian influenza (bird flu) - GOV.UK (click)

Please do not walk (with or without dogs) around the lake area for the foreseeable future. Should your dog find a dead bird, whether by the lake or in the locality, please do try to stop it savaging the carcass, and report the circumstances. If it does eat a dead bird, it should be checked over by a vet if it shows later signs of ill health. Should you still have pheasant, game-birds, from this area, they should not be eaten, but destroyed. As the shooting season is now over, it is assumed that no more will be shot.

The risk to human health is ‘very low’ thus far for this strain, which originates from mainland Western Europe; this matter is of concern, but is not considered a high risk at this time.


Update 17/2/18:

The health protection team have liaised with the Animal and Plant Agency (APHA), and are following up with those that have had direct contact with the specific wild birds that have tested positive, on a precautionary basis.
 
APHA (the lead agency regarding this incident) have advised that, as the birds were found on a private lake, it is the responsibility of the private landowner to remove any dead birds and put up any notices, as appropriate.  
 
Officers have contacted APHA this morning to gain the latest information.  APHA believe they have identified the landowner, but have not yet managed to speak directly with them.  APHA will be monitoring the area, but as this incident is restricted to wild birds and not within a commercial or backyard flock, no action by regulators is required at this time.  Information of the incident will be released in to the public domain, via GOV.UK (click) website, but this will be low key and will not identify the specific area.  The incident does not change the current guidance from APHA regarding the national Prevention Zone that is currently in place.
 
Locally, the Trading Standards Service will wait to hear from APHA for confirmation that the owner has been informed.  They will then make contact to offer any advice or assistance that is appropriate.  If there is a delay in confirming contact with the landowner, officers will do more locally to assist in this. They know that there is a rights of way path around the lake, but that the birds were found at part of the lake not normally accessible to the public.  Defra and APHA are cautious about possible overactions to incidents of this nature, so any advice or recommendations to the landowner need to be proportionate.
 
The APHA webpages, found via the Defra website, is an excellent source of advice, guidance and latest information.  It covers all the frequently asked questions that members of the public, smallholders or commercial farmers are likely to ask.  This includes concerns around human health and how to report concerns of dead birds.  All enquiries should be directed to this website:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu (click)