Northumberland nature reserve bosses confirm cases of bird flu

A team in charge of a nature reserve on the Northumberland coast have confirmed it has had cases of Avian Influenza.

Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 5:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 6:01 pm

Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR) has said it sent two birds away for tests, which returned positive for the disease, which is also known as bird flu and can affect people and other mammals.

Now the group, which is part of Government adviser Natural England, has issued a warning that people should not touch dead birds they find or any which look unwell.

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The officers tasked with looking after the reserve tweeted via the @lindisfarne_nnr account: “We have had confirmation that two Light-bellied Brent geese that we sent for analysis have tested positive for Avian Influenza.

"Please do not touch any ill or dead birds.”

Last month, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that following a number of confirmed cases Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared across England, Scotland and Wales to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading.

This means it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures, with keepers with more than 500 birds now need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites.

Avian Influenza has been confirmed after two birds from Lindisfarne NNR were sent away for tests.

Workers have been told they must change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese are also urged to strengthen their biosecurity measures in order to prevent further outbreaks of avian influenza in the UK.

Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

Any poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat if cooked properly.

It has said the prevention zone will remain in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of its work to monitor the threat of bird flu.

The Lindisfarne NNR team has said that anyone who finds dead birds on the reserve should call Natural England on (01289) 381 470, off the reserve call Defra on 03459 335 577.

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