Bird flu zones created on Shropshire border after outbreak

Residents with birds and animals living on the Shropshire border are being advised to remain cautious after a case of bird flu in Chirk.

Map of the Avian Flu zones around Chirk
Map of the Avian Flu zones around Chirk

A protection zone, surveillance zone and restricted zone have been put in place around the small infected poultry premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

The tougher protection zone has been put in place around the town of Chirk whilst a surveillance zone takes in half of Oswestry, Whittington, Gobowen and St Martins and the surrounding countryside.

Officers have contacted more than 300 households within the affected zones in Shropshire to identify those householders who may have pet birds at home and help them with safeguarding measures

Wrexham County Borough Council and Shropshire Council are working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency, who are leading on the operation, as well as other organisations to control the spread of the infection.

They say 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. Properly cooked eggs and poultry are safe to eat.

Commercial poultry keepers in the area have been informed will be putting in place increased biosecurity measures to protect their birds.

Signs of illness in birds include: unusual quietness, decreased activity levels, decreased levels of feed and water consumption and decreased egg production.

People who have pet birds, kept either indoors or outdoors, are being warned to avoid contact between pet birds and wild birds.

They should avoid feeding wild birds and make sure food for pet birds is out of the way of wild birds, clean up after dealing with birds, especially washing their hands and not take wild bird droppings into their home through dirty clothes and shoes.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said: “Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds. While transmission of avian influenza viruses to people is extremely rare, transmission may occur as a result of direct contact with infected poultry or other birds or their faeces which can cause illness in the human population. People who are concerned or require further advice should seek medical advice by calling NHS 111. Avian influenza is not airborne, except over very short distances. It is spread by movement of infected birds or contact with respiratory secretions and in particular faeces, either directly or through contaminated objects, clothes and vehicles.

“We are therefore asking the public to be vigilant, and keepers of birds in the affected area within Shropshire to monitor their general health and wellbeing. Please contact your vet if you have any concerns; however, if you suspect avian influenza, you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

“Please also ensure appropriate cleaning and disinfection takes place, to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.”

"If you are concerned about the health of your pet please seek advice from your vet."

She said people should not pick it up or touch any sick or dead birds but contact the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 to report them.

"Some birds may be collected for disease surveillance purposes. Not all birds will be collected, and responsibility for disposal of dead birds rests with the landowner. If the bird isn’t required for their surveillance purposes, they should be removed using disposable protective gloves or a plastic bag if in a domestic environment – a home or garden. Place the bird and bag in a plastic bag and tie it up. It can then be put into the normal household waste."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News