Leicester visitor attraction temporarily closed in bid to limit spread of bird flu

Abbey Park’s Pets’ Corner has temporarily closed to the public as part of efforts to limit the spread of avian flu. Credit: Leicester City Council

A Leicester visitor attraction has temporarily closed as part of efforts to limit the spread of avian flu.

The Animal & Plant Health Agency has confirmed that the virus has been detected in wild fowl found dead in Abbey Park and Watermead Park.

Leicester City Council has now temporarily closed Abbey Park’s Pets’ Corner to the public which it says will reduce the number of people accessing the area and ensure that clothing, footwear and equipment are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to avoid any possible contamination.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “With avian flu now present in Leicester, we’re asking members of the public to be extra vigilant.

“People can help by reporting any sightings of dead birds, and by making sure that they comply with DEFRA’s regulations, if they keep birds at home.

“Closing Pets’ Corner is a temporary measure, and we look forward to reopening our popular family attraction as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

Posters have also gone up in Leicester’s parks and open spaces, informing people that bird flu has been detected in the area and asking them to contact the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), if they spot dead birds in Leicester’s parks and waterways.

People should not touch any sick or dead birds, or pick up wild bird feathers.

Instead, anyone who finds dead swans, ducks, geese, or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, should report them to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Professor Ivan Browne, Leicester’s director of public health, said: “Avian flu is primarily a disease affecting birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. 

“You do not need to stop enjoying Leicester’s beautiful parks and green spaces, but if you see a dead or sick bird, please do not touch it or go near it but call the DEFRA helpline to report it as soon as possible. 

“There is a very low food safety risk from avian flu and properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.”