Bird flu: Confirmed in Fenland swan population and turkeys culled near King’s Lynn

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around a turkey farm near King's Lynn where an outbre...

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around a turkey farm near King's Lynn where an outbreak of bird flu was confirmed on December 5. - Credit: Defra

Volunteer water bailiff Roy Bridson has warned that bird flu has been confirmed in the Fenland swan population.

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around a turkey farm near King's Lynn where an outbre...

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around a turkey farm near King's Lynn where an outbreak of bird flu was confirmed on December 5. - Credit: Defra

His warning comes as a turkey farm near King’s Lynn became the second confirmed case of bird flu Norfolk.

Mr Bridson said: “Please be aware you may see dead swans on the Nene or Drains please under no circumstances go near or touch them.”

Several people have already reported finding dead swans in parts of the river.

Mr Bridson said anyone finding a dead swan should phone the RSPCA.


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“They will direct you to the correct local swan rescue (recovery) people as all dead swans must now be collected for investigation,” he said.

“Please do not touch dead seagulls, swans, ducks or any dead birds on the bank or in the water.”

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Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. Poultry keepers and members of the public can also report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers must report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

Animal health officials have confirmed the highly-pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian influenza in rearing turkeys at premises between Gayton and East Winch.

Defra says all birds on the infected premises will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease.

It follows the case confirmed on Friday night at a farm near Attleborough which has already prompted the culling of up to 30,000 birds in the run-up to Christmas - a crucial time for East Anglia’s poultry industry.

A Defra spokesman said: “A veterinary investigation is on-going on this site to identify the likely source of infection and establish how long the disease may have been present on the infected premises.”

A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone have been put in place around both the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers must report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

All captive birds will have to be kept indoors under new measures announced by the Government to limit the spread of bird flu.

The Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland and Wales have agreed on new measures to protect wild birds and poultry following cases of the “highly infectious” illness in both populations.

From December 14, it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their flocks indoors and to follow biosecurity measures to limit the spread and eradicate the disease.

On Friday, avian flu was confirmed in rearing turkeys at a premises near Attleborough in Norfolk, marking eight cases in captive birds in England.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the thousands of birds on the infected premises will be humanely culled to limit the disease’s spread.

Cases of the disease have also been detected in wild birds.

Public Health England has said the risk to the public from the virus was “very low”, and food standards agencies also said it does not impact the consumption of poultry products.

Last month, restrictions were declared to prevent the spread of the virus as England, Scotland and Wales were made an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ).

This means that poultry and captive bird keepers must take additional steps such as disinfecting equipment, vehicles and clothing, changing clothing and footwear before entering enclosures and limiting access to non-essential people.

The three chief veterinary officers, Christine Middlemiss, Sheila Voas and Christianne Glossop, have encouraged bird owners to use the coming days to prepare for the measures.

In a joint statement, they said: “We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease and are now planning to introduce a legal requirement for all poultry and captive bird keepers to keep their birds housed or otherwise separate from wild birds.

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, from December 14 onwards you will be legally required to keep your birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

“We have not taken this decision lightly, but it is the best way to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”

The flu spreads between birds by direct contact or through contaminated bodily fluids, and can also be spread by contaminated feed, water, or by dirty clothing and footwear.

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