Warning as suspected bird flu cases reported at Peterborough's Ferry Meadows

Visitors are being told not to touch dead birds at the park following a number of suspected cases of bird fluVisitors are being told not to touch dead birds at the park following a number of suspected cases of bird flu
Visitors are being told not to touch dead birds at the park following a number of suspected cases of bird flu
Number of dead swans seen at the park

Visitors to Ferry Meadows and other areas of the Nene Park in Peterborough are being urged to be aware after a number of suspected bird flu cases were reported.

A spokesperson for the Nene Park Trust said: “We have recently received reports of dead swans in the Park which we suspect are cases of avian flu. It is important for all visitors to remain vigilant. If you see a dead or visibly sick bird, please do not touch it and report it to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77). Our Park Management Team have been advised not to touch dead or sick birds as per the Government Guidelines but we will of course be on hand if there are any highly visible on paths.”

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The park is classed as a Higher Risk Area due to the number of wild birds that gather.

In terms of the risk to public health, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. Nevertheless, the public are being asked not to touch dead wild birds, but should report them to DEFRA by calling 03459 33 55 77

Mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds were introduced to all areas of England on the morning of Monday 7 November, following a decision by the United Kingdom’s Chief Veterinary Officer in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease.

The compulsory housing measure follows over 80 confirmed cases across the UK since the beginning of October, three of which have been in Cambridgeshire.

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Bird keepers with 50 or more birds must register with the APHA, but APHA are actively encouraging all bird keepers to register, even if they have less than 50 birds, as it enables them to keep you up to date with Avian Influenza developments.

Peter Gell, Peterborough City Council's Assistant Director Regulatory Services, said: “I would encourage all poultry keepers to familiarise themselves with, and do their utmost to comply with, all restrictions now in place. We are a rural county, blessed with a wide range of commercial bird keepers. Their livelihoods and health of their flocks depend on all bird keepers – large and small - doing their bit to prevent the further spread of this disease.

“Check your birds frequently for symptoms of Bird Flu– know the tell-tale signs and immediately report any ill-health to your veterinarian. If you suspect Bird Flu you should contact the DEFRA rural services helpline on 03000 200 301.”

The United Kingdom’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “The risk of kept birds being exposed to disease has reached a point where it is now necessary for all birds to be housed until further notice.

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“Scrupulous biosecurity and separating flocks in all ways, from wild birds remain the best form of defence."

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

For the latest information about Bird Flu, including symptoms, how to report sick birds and the latest control measures visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu