Bird ‘flu – risk to the public is very low, says council

RESIDENTS have been assured that the risk to the public is very low, following an outbreak of bird flu just a 15-minute drive from Frodsham.
Avian influenza H5N1 has been found at a single premises in the Great Barrow area.
The disease mainly affects birds, but on rare occasions, can affect mammals including humans. Consequently, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Defra, APHA and the UK Health Security agency (UKHSA) are putting several measures in place to help prevent this from happening.
This will include a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone.

The zones restrict access to locations where birds are kept and impose restrictions on the movement of birds. They do not limit access to residents or business owners. Further details on the zones can be found on the government website. The protection and surveillance zones came into force on November 21 and will apply until it is withdrawn or amended by Defra.
Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “The risk to public health is very low so residents do not need to be alarmed by this development. It is important, however, that people do not pick up sick or dead birds as this can spread the virus.
“If you do find any distressed swans, geese, ducks or other dead wild birds while out and about, please report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.
“I am also urging bird keepers to keep an eye out for any signs of disease. You must report suspected cases to the nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency office by calling 03000 200 301.”
People in direct contact with the premises have been contacted and offered appropriate support.
Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. However, anyone who is concerned should call NHS 111 or speak to their GP.
Keepers with more than 500 birds now need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

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