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The government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed a number of cases of avian influenza (bird flu) in the wild bird population of Huntingdonshire, centred on the River Great Ouse.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that bird flu is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the public's health is very low. However, it is vital that people do not touch sick live birds or bird carcasses.

We therefore urge park users, runners and dog walkers to avoid touching any sick or dead wild birds, including bird droppings, in the district as a precaution. Anyone who has been in direct touching contact with visibly sick or dead birds should practice good hygiene by washing their hands immediately and following the NHS guidance below.

The District Council remains in contact with Defra to manage the situation efficiently and effectively.

If you have found a dead bird in a park or open space

  • If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Huntingdonshire District Council Customer Service team on 01480 388640 for safe removal and disposal. Do not touch the bird.

If you have found a dead or sick wild bird in your garden or on private land

    • one or more dead bird of prey or owl
    • 3 or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks)
    • 5 or more dead birds of any species.

If you have found and touched a sick or dead bird:

  • We advise that anyone who has been in contact with a sick or dead wild birds or their droppings, should practice good hygiene and follow NHS recommendations and thoroughly wash their hands in soap and water.

  • Call a GP or NHS 111 if you experience any symptoms of bird flu and have visited an area affected by bird flu in the past 10 days. Your symptoms can be checked over the phone.

Disease control requirements for bird keepers

Following the introduction of an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain on 17 October to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds. The Chief Veterinary Officer has announced that mandatory housing measures for poultry and captive birds will be lifted from 00:01 on Tuesday 18 April 2023, but scrupulous standards of biosecurity remain essential.

The decision means that from 18 April, eggs laid by hens with access to outside range areas can return to being marketed as 'Free-Range' eggs. With cases of Bird Flu still arising it is vital the bird keepers continue to monitor their birds for symptoms and report any concerns immediately.

The RSPCA has provided a simple guide to help backyard flock keepers and bird keepers to protect their birds from bird flu. It is important to be vigilant for any signs of disease - if you are concerned about your birds' health or suspect Avian Influenza, please contact your vet immediately.

Register your birds

You should register your poultry, even if only kept as pets, so we can contact you during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds. Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon (bred for meat), partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.

Register for disease alerts

To receive immediate notification of new cases and details of disease control and prevention zones in GB, sign up to the APHA’s Animal Disease alert subscription service. View further information about the APHA animal disease alerts.

Support for the farming community

Defra works in partnership with farming help organisations to support their work to help the farming community through challenging times.

If this affects you, please either contact them on 03000 111 999 or visit the Farming Help website.