SHROPSHIRE Council’s Regulatory Services team are urging bird keepers to remain vigilant in light of the recent outbreaks of Avian Influenza in neighbouring counties Cheshire and Herefordshire.

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a notifiable animal disease that mainly affects birds, but it can also affect humans and other mammals.

Whilst there are currently no cases in Shropshire, Animal Health Officers are asking bird keepers including domestic and commercial keepers to check stock regularly for signs of Avian Influenza and also to register their stock in case contact needs to be made.

Public Health England advises that the risk to the public’s health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

If you suspect any type of bird flu in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 – please select option 7).

If you keep poultry, whether commercially on a farm, or as pets in your garden, or rearing game birds, you should keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. If you have any concerns about the health of your poultry, seek prompt advice from your vet.