Bird Flu Hits Fife
A positive case of the deadly strain H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed in Scotland.
Tests on the swan found at Cellardyke in Fife, Scotland last week have confirmed that the bird did have the deadly strain of H5N1 avian influenza. However, tests on numerous other dead birds from the region have all proved to be negative.
Reacting to the discovery of a positive bird flu case, the Scottish Executive have set up a 3km Protection Zone around Cellardyke within which the movement of poultry and poultry products is restricted, and a 10km Surveillance Zone where farm and smallholding premises are subject to hightened precautions.
Following the announcement of the infected swan, the DEFRA helpline has been flooded with thousands of calls regarding dead birds. DEFRA have been asking that you report any occurence of a dead swan, goose or duck, or three or more dead wild or garden birds together in the same place to their helpline: 08459 33 55 77.
The birds may need to be examined for signs of disease, and DEFRA will advise you on what action you should take. If the dead bird is a single, small garden, or wild bird then you do not need to call the bird flu hotline.
On confirmation from DEFRA that the dead bird is not considered a risk, you should either leave it alone or dispose of it following some simple hygiene precautions:
- avoid touching the bird with your bare hands;
- wear disposible gloves or use a leakproof plastic bag;
- place the dead bird in a plastic bag, taking care not to contaminate the outside of the bag, and tie it;
- place this bag into a second plastic bag, tie it and dispose in the household refuse bin;
- alternatively, the bird can be buried but not in a plastic bag;
- hands and anything that has been in contact with the bird should be washed thoroughly.
This routine hygiene procedure is required to protect against any disease which the bird may have, such as salmonella or campylobacter.
The current threat of bird flu to the UK is low, and it must be stressed that there is no reason for public health concern. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is also urging people to remain calm and to keep the Cellardyke swan case in perspective.
Avian influenza is a disease of birds and very rarely passes from birds to humans. The virus requires extremely close contact with infected birds or their droppings in order to spread from birds to humans.
If you have any suspicions of a bird flu case, an Attack Pest Control technician would be happy to offer you advice and information on what to do.