Posted: Mon 12th Jun 2023

Chief Veterinary Officer urges ‘vigilance’ as Avian Flu hits gulls and terns at Shotton Lagoons

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jun 12th, 2023

Wales’ Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Richard Irvine, has thanked bird keepers across Wales for their tireless efforts in safeguarding their flocks during the ongoing avian influenza outbreak that continues to impact the UK.

In a message specifically addressed to bird keepers in the Flintshire area, Dr. Irvine stressed the need for unwavering vigilance and adherence to the highest standards of hygiene and biosecurity measures to protect birds from disease.

Regrettably, the avian influenza virus continues to circulate within wild bird populations.

Recently, certain wild bird colonies have been particularly affected, including black-headed gulls and terns at Shotton Lagoons, part of the Dee Special Protection Area in Flintshire.

Colonies of wild birds at the mouth of the Mersey Estuary are also similarly affected.

While the risk to the general public remains low, Dr. Irvine urges people to refrain from touching any sick or dead birds they may encounter.

Instead, sightings of ill or deceased birds should be reported to DEFRA via their online reporting tool or their helpline at 03459 33 55 77.

“Over the spring and summer months, the risk of avian influenza in poultry and kept birds usually decreases.”

“However, with the disease still actively circulating in wild birds, maintaining vigilance and impeccable levels of hygiene and biosecurity is absolutely critical,” said Dr. Irvine.

He emphasised the importance of these measures for all bird keepers, but particularly those in Flintshire where the disease is affecting the wild bird population.

Dr. Irvine reminded bird keepers of the mandatory biosecurity checklist available on the Welsh Government website, which can help them tailor protection measures for their flocks.

“If you suspect avian influenza in your birds, you must contact your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office immediately on 0300 303 8268,” he added.

For more information and advice, bird keepers can visit the Welsh Government website.

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