Residents urged to remain cautious following Avian Influenza in the Chirk area
Residents with birds and animals living in the Chirk area and the Shropshire borders are being advised to remain cautious and to take any appropriate actions, following a case of Avian Influenza at a small backyard flock in Chirk.
A Protection Zone, Surveillance Zone and Restricted Zone has been put in place around the small infected poultry premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Details of the measures that apply within these zones can be found in the Declaration from the Welsh Government and the Declaration from Defra
The Control Zones extend from Wrexham into Shropshire, and both Wrexham County Borough Council and Shropshire Council are working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) who are leading on the operation as well as other key organisations, to keep residents up to date and to control the spread of the infection.
The risk to public health is very low, and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked eggs and poultry are safe to eat.
Commercial poultry keepers in the area have been informed and will be putting in place increased biosecurity measures to protect their birds.
Signs of illness in birds include:-
- Unusual quietness, decreased activity levels
- Decreased levels of vocalisation.
- Decreased levels of feed and water consumption
- Decreased egg production.
People who have pet birds, kept either indoors or outdoors, should follow the same basic guidance to keep their birds safe:-
- Avoid contact between your pet birds and wild birds
- Avoid feeding wild birds, and make sure your pet bird’s food is out of the way of wild birds
- Always clean up after dealing with your birds, especially washing your hands
- Do not bring wild bird droppings into your home through dirty clothes and shoes
- Ensure that any new bird comes from a reputable source.
In Shropshire, Shropshire Council’s health protection team are working closely with APHA to ensure that appropriate controls are in place to prevent the spread of infection. Officers have attended over 300 households within the affected zones in Shropshire to identify those householders who may have pet birds at home, and assist them in establishing safeguarding measures and providing *APHA with contact information, so they can provide further assistance.
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said:-
“Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds. While transmission of avian influenza viruses to people is extremely rare, transmission may occur as a result of direct contact with infected poultry or other birds or their faeces which can cause illness in the human population. People who are concerned or require further advice should seek medical advice by calling NHS 111. Avian influenza is not airborne, except over very short distances. It is spread by movement of infected birds or contact with respiratory secretions and in particular faeces, either directly or through contaminated objects, clothes and vehicles.
“We are therefore asking the public to be vigilant, and keepers of birds in the affected area within Shropshire to monitor their general health and wellbeing. Please contact your vet if you have any concerns; however, if you suspect avian influenza, you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.
“Please also ensure appropriate cleaning and disinfection takes place, to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.”
My bird is sick, what should I do?
If you are concerned about the health of your pet please seek advice from your vet.
For more information about bird flu and biosecurity, visit the Welsh Government website at https://gov.wales/avian-influenza or the Defra website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu or phone 03459 33 55 77 or the Defra Rural Services Helpline, 03000 200 301.
What do I do if I find a dead bird?
Please don’t pick it up or touch any sick or dead birds.
You should contact the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 to report it. Some birds may be collected for disease surveillance purposes. Not all birds will be collected, and responsibility for disposal of dead birds rests with the landowner.
If the bird isn’t required for their surveillance purposes, they should be removed using disposable protective gloves or a plastic bag if in a domestic environment – a home or garden.
Place the bird and bag in a plastic bag and tie it up. It can then be put into the normal household waste.
For residents living in Shropshire
For further information about the disposal of dead birds please take a look at the UK Government website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#public. Legislation covering avian influenza in England can be found at https://w_ww.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#legislation-on-avian-influenza
You can keep up to date with the Avian Flu on the UK Government website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
For residents living in Wales
For further information about the careful disposal of dead birds please take a look at the Welsh Government website (https://gov.wales/report-and-dispose-dead-birds)
You can keep up to date with the Avian Flu outbreak on the Welsh Government website at https://gov.wales/avian-influenza-bird-flu-latest-update
Avian Influenza (AI) is a highly infectious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and / or nervous system of many species of birds. It is one of the most important poultry diseases. Avian influenza is not air-borne, except over very short distances by aerosol. It is spread by movement of infected birds or contact with respiratory secretions and in particular faeces, either directly or through contaminated objects, clothes and vehicles.
*APHA is an Executive Agency of Defra, and also works on behalf of the Welsh and Scottish Government.s