Dead animals trigger bird flu alert in area beauties


Chasewater National Park

Members of the public are urged not to touch any sick or dead wild birds after suspected cases are spotted in Chasewater in Staffordshire and Stubbers Green Nature Reserve near Shelfield in Walsall.

Officials from the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) collected dead birds at the two sites and tests are underway.

As part of efforts to prevent the potential spread of disease to poultry and captive birds, England was declared an Avian Flu Prevention Zone on November 3.

Chasewater and Shutt Green in Staffordshire and Chelmarsh near Bridgnorth in Shropshire are among areas listed as ‘at higher risk’ for avian influenza.

Walsall’s Director of Public Health Stephen Gunther said: “We are awaiting the results of the DEFRA investigations. At this point, it is very important that people do not touch sick live birds or bird carcasses. Infection control measures may be needed if they do. The area is also closed to fishing. “

“I also urge birders to be vigilant for any signs of illness, to report any suspicion of illness to Defra and to ensure that they maintain good biosecurity on their premises.”

Councilor Stephen Craddock, portfolio holder of health and wellness at Walsall, said: “It is important that you completely avoid contact with sick or dead birds, which is why I would also remind people not to come into contact with any sick or dead birds. not feed the birds at Stubbers Green.

“I want to reassure the local population that the affected area of ​​the site will soon be equipped with advisory signage. However, if you see sick or dead birds either by the waterway or on your own private land, please leave them alone and call the council.

The virus is highly transmissible in birds and no cases of cross infection with humans have been reported.

Jeff Sim, Head of Nature Reserves and Species Recovery at the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are aware of reports that avian influenza is spreading among the UK population of water and wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey. “

Anyone who finds swans, geese, ducks or other dead wild birds should report it to the relevant council or to the DEFRA hotline on 03459 335577.


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