Bird flu hits Dorset - 17 cases reported

Bird flu Credit: Press Association

Bird flu has been detected in 17 wild birds in Dorset. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has confirmed the cases with more expected over the coming days.

This is the first confirmed finding of the virus in the UK this winter and tests have shown it is closely related to the H5N6 strain that has been circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months.

This is different to the strains which affected people in China last year and Public Health England have advised the risk to public health is very low.

The Food Standards Agency have said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

A local ‘avian influenza prevention zone’ will be introduced in the area of Dorset where the diseased birds were found.

This means it will be mandatory for all captive bird keepers to put enhanced biosecurity measures in place, such as feeding and watering birds indoors to minimise mixing with wild birds, minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning and disinfecting footwear and keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy.