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Avian Flu reported in Warmingham

As you may be aware, the UK is facing its largest ever outbreak of bird flu with over 70 cases confirmed across the country since the start of November. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) have declared an avian influenza prevention zone across Great Britain.

Cheshire East Council is taking immediate measures to inform and advise local residents, partners and landowners about avian influenza outbreaks and what to look out for following a confirmed case on a commercial poultry farm in Warmingham (in Brereton Rural Ward). This site has now been confirmed by the Animal, Plant and Health Agency as having the HN51 strain.

As a result, a 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone has been put in place around the outbreak.

A map is attached for your convenience.

The Protection Zones require foot patrols around local premises by animal health officers and non-movement of birds within or out of the zone. They do not restrict the movement of people.

Full details of measures, a map of the affected area, restrictions and activities for each area are available here:

Declaration of a Protection Zone and a Surveillance Zone (H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) – near Crewe, Cheshire East, Cheshire

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed that 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 and it does not affect the consumption of poultry or eggs.

Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.

Residents are reminded to not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that they find. If they find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, they should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).  The guidance regarding captive birds and wild birds varies – as set out below:

Captive Birds

Council officers from Cheshire East and Cheshire West are carrying out door-to-door visits in the protection zones to identify where captive birds are present, to advise and support bird keepers. Members should note that the protection zones are only relevant to captive birds.

In addition, there is a 10-kilometre surveillance zone around each protection zone.

DEFRA are writing to residents within or close to this surveillance zone for captive birds advising of the requirements. Members should be aware that some residents will be receiving these, advising them of what to do.

There is also the nationwide prevention zone which requires owners to keep birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures.

Wild Birds

By contrast, wild birds are treated differently in that they are not subject to any specific actions connected to the protection zones.

Within the borough, no door knocking is undertaken by Council officers for wild birds. It is the responsibility of the landowner for arranging for the disposal of any dead birds. The important thing is that the public do not touch any such birds.

DEFRA helpline – if residents find any dead swans, geese, ducks or other dead wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey, they can report them to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77.