Public warned not to touch sick or dead animals as bird flu found in West Midlands

People are being warned not to touch sick or dead birds over fears of spreading bird flu following confirmation of cases in the West Midlands.

People have been urged to report instances of dead or sick birds to DEFRA
People have been urged to report instances of dead or sick birds to DEFRA

Cases have been confirmed in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Wrexham.

Officers from Telford & Wrekin Council's Trading Standards Animal Health team have advised bird keepers to remain vigilant and to look out for signs of ill health in their birds.

Bird keepers must also follow strict bio-security rules brought in by the Government to reduce the risk of the disease spreading among captive birds.

As a result, it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors.

Also, wild birds cannot have access to any bedding, feed or water intended for kept poultry or birds, and steps must be taken to reduce the movement of people in the areas where birds are kept.

Avian influenza is highly contagious to other birds, but the risk to human health is considered very low. However, infection control measures may be necessary for anyone who touches sick live birds or bird carcasses.

While no cases have been confirmed in Telford and Wrekin to date, the council said it is making all necessary preparations to protect public health and animal welfare.

Councillor Richard Overton, Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety and Customer Services, said: "While the risk to the public from this strain of avian flu is very low, it's vital we are aware and do what we can to reduce the spread of it.

"People out and about in Telford and Wrekin should not touch or try to rescue injured birds as they could be infected.

"Anyone spotting injured or dead birds should report them to the DEFRA helpline."

People should not touch or try to rescue sick or injured birds and should report them to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 335577.

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