Bird flu outbreak confirmed in Wyre with protection zone set up
A temporary control zone has been set up by the Government in Wyre after experts confirmed an outbreak of bird flu in the area.
A 3km protection zone has been set up in Fleetwood, Knott End, Preesall and Pilling, along with a 10km surveillance zone spanning from Poulton to Heysham following the confirmation from the Animal Plant and Health Agency yesterday.
Further testing is underway to confirm the pathogenicity of the strain.
It is the third recorded outbreak of bird flu at a Lancashire premises following news that a strain of the potentially deadly virus had been found in the wild bird populations in the county last week.
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Since then, cases have been confirmed at a commercial poultry premises near Salwick and in a small mixed flock of poultry near Kirkham.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said: "There is no need to be alarmed by the developments over the last few days.
“The risk to public health from the virus is very low, however it is important that people don’t pick up sick or dead birds as this can spread the virus.
"If you do find any dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds while out and about, please report them to the DEFRA helpline.
"I would also urge bird keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease. Avian influenza is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds, you must report it immediately."
Control zones have also been set up in Kirkham and Salwick, which require anyone who keeps poultry or other captive birds within 3km to isolate their birds and record the names and addresses of any visitors.
Poultry owners within the 10km surveillance zone do not have to house their birds but must keep detailed visitor records.
Road signs alerting people to the zones have been put in place by Lancashire County Council.
Meanwhile, anyone who believes they may have caught bird flu themselves is advised to call NHS 111 or speak to their GP.
Mark McGivern, a consultant in health protection in the North West at UKHSA, said: “Avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to public health is very low.
"We are working closely with Defra to monitor the situation and the regional health protection team will be providing the necessary public health advice to people at the infected premises as a precaution.
“We know the importance of washing hands thoroughly when it comes to reducing the risk of infections. Don’t touch any sick or dead birds and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap after contact with any animal.”
Dead wild birds should be reported to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77. Suspected cases of bird flu in poultry or captive birds must be reported to the DEFRA Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.
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