Blackburn and Darwen Council offer new update on avian flu

THE government has put in place new UK-wide measures to protect poultry and captive birds from bird flu – and people are being warned not to touch or pick up the birds.

There are currently no reported cases in Blackburn with Darwen, but cases have been reported in the Preston and Ribble Valley areas, Manchester and Yorkshire.

Poultry farmers are urged to act now to protect their flocks from bird flu this winter, following a number of confirmed cases across the country in recent weeks.

New bird breeding measures, which come into effect on November 29, mean it will be a legal obligation for all UK poultry farmers to keep their birds indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of the disease. , and help eradicate it.

Wild birds that migrate to the UK from mainland Europe during the winter months can carry the disease, which can lead to cases in poultry and other captive birds.

Poultry farmers must now do the following:

  • shelter or net all poultry and captive birds to separate them from wild birds
  • clean and disinfect clothing, shoes, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if possible, use disposable protective clothing
  • reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimize contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use control effective vermin
  • cleaning and disinfecting the housing carefully and continuously
  • keep fresh disinfectant in the correct concentration at all points of entry and exit to farms and barns
  • minimize direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including ensuring that all food and water are not accessible to wild birds.

Government vets are encouraging poultry farmers to use the coming days to prepare for the new housing measures, including taking steps to protect animal welfare, seeing their vet and setting up additional housing if needed.

Members of the public are also asked not to approach or touch poultry or other birds that you find or come across under any circumstances.

Public health advisories remain that the risk to human health from the virus is low and food standards bodies indicate that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk to UK consumers. There is no impact on the consumption of well-cooked poultry products, including eggs.

Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen’s director of public health, said: “I would like to reassure people that the risk of humans catching bird flu is low, but I would also strongly advise people to avoid anything. contact with all birds, especially wild birds and poultry. .

“This virus is spread by being in close contact with an infected bird, whether alive or dead, so it is important to avoid this.

“We are a nation of animal lovers and for some of us if we see a bird that is obviously sick or in pain our instinct will be to help it. However, we urge everyone not to – in no case do any of us touch dead birds and wild birds. ”

If you know of any birds that appear sick, please report them to the Defra Rural Services Hotline on 03000 200 301.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra Hotline – call 03 459 33 55 77 and select option 7 – and arrangements will be made to remove them promptly.

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