Avian flu word cloud By ibreakstock  AdobeStock_119701218

Following confirmation of some bird flu cases in Bedford’s wild bird population, Bedford Borough Council is reminding people to contact DEFRA if they spot any dead swans, geese, ducks or any other wild birds.

Avian Influenza (bird flu) spreads from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids or faeces, or via contaminated feed, water or by dirty vehicles, clothing and footwear. It isn’t an airborne virus.

An ‘Avian Influenza Prevention Zone’ was declared across the whole of England in November. From today (14 December 2020) all bird keepers in England are required to keep their birds indoors.

Cllr Charles Royden, portfolio holder for Environment, said:

“Avian flu is a notifiable disease and any concerns should be reported directly to DEFRA. In the case of wild birds, DEFRA will then test them to help understand how the disease is distributed geographically and in different types of birds.

“We are reminding people that if they come across a dead or visibly sick wild bird, please do not touch them or try to pick them up. If you see a dead wild bird, contact DEFRA and they will be able to help.”

Public Health advises that the risk to public health from bird flu is very low. While some strains can pass to humans, it is very rare and requires very close contact between the human and infected birds.

Nevertheless, the public are reminded to not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds. If you find any dead wild birds such as swans, geese or ducks you should report them the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

There will be notices going up along the Embankment with this information and as well as further advice.