Risk to public health is 'very low' as bird flu cases confirmed in Cumbria, says health expert

Colin Cox has advised people that the risk to public health from bird flu is 'very low'. Credit: ITV News

Cumbria's Director of Public Health has issued advice to residents throughout the county after bird flu was confirmed at a commercial property.

Highly Pathogenic Avian influenza H5N1 (otherwise known as bird flu) was confirmed at a commercial property near Langwathby, Eden.

All poultry on the premises has been humanely culled and a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone has been set-up around the property.

Colin Cox, Director of Public Health for Cumbria County Council, said: "I want to reassure residents that the risk to public health from avian flu is very low.

"However, it is important people do not touch or pick up any sick or dead birds to avoid spreading the virus, which can affect humans in rare cases.

"If you do find any dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds while out and about, please report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 or online: Report dead wild birds - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

"I would also urge bird keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease and report any suspected cases to their nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency office.”

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss added: “H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed at a poultry premises in Eden, Cumbria.

"We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease and any birds at risk of infection will now be humanely culled.

“UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

“We have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Great Britain, so whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, it’s vital that all bird keepers take action to introduce higher biosecurity standards on their farm or small holdings.”

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