There are several outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) in wild birds and domestics flocks across the UK at present.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that bird flu is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the health of the public is very low.
However, there are some steps you can take to prevent bird flu and to stay safe:
What to do
- do wash your hands often with warm water and soap, especially before and after handling food, in particular raw poultry
- do use different utensils for cooked and raw meat
- do make sure meat is cooked until steaming hot
- do avoid contact with live birds and poultry
What not to do:
- do not go near or touch bird droppings or sick or dead birds
- do not go to live animal markets or poultry farms
- do not bring any live birds or poultry back to the UK, including feathers
- do not eat undercooked or raw poultry or duck
- do not eat raw eggs
Reporting dead wild birds
Do not touch the birds
You can now report dead wild birds online.
You should use this service to report dead wild birds if you find:
- one or more dead birds of prey (such as an owl, hawk or buzzard)
- three or more dead birds that include at least 1 gull, swan, goose or duck
- five or more dead wild birds of any species
You can also report other types and numbers of dead wild birds.
The Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77) is still available if you wish to report the dead birds over the phone.
Reporting suspected bird flu in poultry or captive birds
If you suspect any type of bird flu in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.
Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.
What to do if you are a poultry keeper
All bird keepers – including those with pet birds, commercial flocks or a backyard flock – must watch closely for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity. Advice should be sought from a vet if there are concerns about your birds.
Poultry should be registered with DEFRA, so owners can be contacted – and 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.
The DEFRA webpages contain additional information on registering for updates.
Parks and open spaces in Stevenage
Stevenage has a number of parks and open spaces. These remain safe to use, and our council teams will be continuing to assess the situation.
We urge the public to remain vigilant and not to touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that are found. These must be reported as per the guidelines above.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website has further guidance on avian flu.