Public warned as avian flu is confirmed in Market Drayton on Shropshire Staffordshire border

The avian flu confirmed in Market Drayton affects wild birds. Credit: PA Images

People are being warned not to touch any sick or dead wild birds, after bird flu has been confirmed in the Market Drayton area.

The avian flu was confirmed in an owl on the border of Staffordshire and Shropshire, affecting wild birds.

Experts say that while the risk of avian flu to people is low, it is possible to catch the virus.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is also warning pet owners to keep their animals on a lead and away from any potentially infected birds.

Staffordshire County Council is warning visitors to its country parks, green spaces and outdoor attractions not to feed any wild birds and keep their dogs on leads near water where there are wild waterfowl - as avian flu continues to spread across the county.

People who find dead birds should notify staff at visitor sites or park rangers, and report injured or sick birds to the RSPCA.

Dr William Proto, UKHSA West Midlands Health Protection Consultant, said: “The A(H5N1) strain is currently the most common strain of bird flu in this country and is highly pathogenic to other birds.

"The risk to the public from avian flu remains low, however it is possible for humans to catch the virus, so it is vital that people do not touch any sick or dead birds, or have contact with their droppings, eggs or bedding, which may also be contaminated.

"As a precaution, anyone who has been in direct contact with a sick or dying bird in an area where the infection has been confirmed, will require close monitoring and follow up with UKHSA.”