People who keep birds are being reminded to keep them indoors and follow strict safety rules, following a number of new cases of avian influenza (bird flu) in the UK.

The Government have put the biosecurity measures in place following the emergence of bird flu cases in both wild and captive birds.

Bird keepers should take steps to safeguard animal welfare, consult their vet and where necessary put up additional indoor housing.

All poultry and captive bird keepers need to take extra precautions, such as keeping birds indoors, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles, limiting access to non-essential people on their sites, and ensuring workers change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures.

Official advice states that the risk to human health from the virus is very low. Food Standards Agency advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products including eggs.

Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection, Cllr Judith Guthrie said: “While avian flu poses a low risk to people, it is a highly infectious disease which can be lethal for birds. It is vital that all those who keep birds follow the health advice and put measures in place to help limit the spread of the disease.”

Poultry and captive bird keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 (option 7), and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

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