'Control zone' introduced in Stratford following more bird flu cases - The Stratford Observer

'Control zone' introduced in Stratford following more bird flu cases

Stratford Editorial 6th Jan, 2023   0

MORE cases of bird flu have been confirmed in dead swans found on the River Avon in Stratford.

And as a result a 3km ‘captive bird controlled zone’ has been put in place in the area to try and prevent further spread of the virus.

The new cases of bird flu were discovered on Tuesday January 3.

This follows a total of 30 swans dying of the avian flu virus on the town’s river in 2022, including six just before Christmas.

The total swan deaths from bird flu in Stratford over the last two years now exceeds 90, according to Stratford Swan Rescue, headed by former town mayor Cyril Bennis.

An unconfirmed, but lesser, number of other wild fowl have also been affected over the same period.

Mr Bennis has referred to the deaths as “dreadful” and stated on the Stratford Swan Rescue Facebook page that dealing with the virus had become a catch-22 situation.

“The risk of spreading the virus prohibits smaller rescue centres from intervening, while larger agencies with the full proper protective safeguards are forced to prioritise their responses,” he explained in a recent post.

The UK is currently experiencing one of its worst ever outbreaks of bird flu and infections are expected to increase over the colder months. In response, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs has announced England, Scotland and Wales are all in an avian influenza prevention zone (AIPZ) and by law must follow strict biosecurity rules to prevent bird flu and stop it spreading.

However, in some areas such as spots in Warwickshire, DEFRA has gone one further and identified AI protection and surveillance zones.

There is no cure for avian flu, which leaves swans swimming in circles, or immobile, and unable to feed themselves. The only option is to put the birds down.

Meanwhile Warwickshire County Council is advising the public to reduce the spread of Avian Influenza by:

– keeping to the footpath, with dogs on leads

– not picking up or touching dead or sick wild birds

– not touching wild bird feathers or surfaces contaminated with wild bird droppings.

And residents who find dead birds are asked to report these in the following instances:

– If they find one or more dead birds of prey (such as an owl, hawk or buzzard)

– If they find three or more dead birds that include at least one gull, swan, goose or duck

– If they find five or more dead birds of any species

Please report online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/report-dead-wild-birds or call the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Owners of captive birds can find out if they are in the 3km zone by visiting the Bird Flu Disease Control Map https://defra.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8cb1883eda5547c6b91b5d5e6aeba90d

If keepers are in a captive bird controlled zone they must keep poultry and other captive birds housed.

For latest updates visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bird-flu-avian-influenza-latest-situation-in-england#full-publication-update-history

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