Bird flu alert: New highly contagious outbreak discovered in UK

Conservation biologist: We should improve habitats to help birds

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The virus was found at a farm near Frinton-on-Sea. This virus – H5N1 – is known to be highly contagious and can decimate poultry flocks.

A control zone is set up temporarily covering 3km (1.8 miles) and 10km (6.2 miles) where the affected farm is based.

This news comes after an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared in Britain last Wednesday.

Advice for farms and bird keepers to toughen their biosecurity measures are in place as more cases of avian flu are found across the UK.

Around 500 birds are now forced into restricted access, meaning non-essential people are unable to encounter the birds.

More than a dozen swans died in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire after they contracted bird flu.

Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, confirmed the presence of the H5N1 bird flu strain: “This is further evidence of the need for all keepers of poultry and captive birds to ensure they have the very highest levels of biosecurity in place.

“Public Health Wales has said the risk to the health of the public from avian influenza is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear it does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.”

Wychbold Swan Rescue released a statement about the death of the swans.

They said in a statement: “You may have heard on the news, it has been confirmed that our beloved birds have had to be euthanised after testing positive for avian influenza.”

Cyril Bennis, who runs Stratford-Upon-Avon Swan Rescue group, expressed great concerns about the bird flu which is ravaging farms across the country.

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The bird specialist, with 40 years of experience protecting swans, said: “Three weeks ago one of the sanctuaries that we take our swans to was shut down because of suspected avian flu.

“The swans that were on the mend there had to be put to sleep.

“The other rescue centre also had to be shut down because two swans there also had suspected avian flu.

“I have had to put two swans to sleep today, one last night, seven others have died of suspected avian flu in the last few days.

“It’s a daily occurrence.

“I really fear that the entire population, which is more than 70 swans, could be seriously under threat.”

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