Avian flu found on RSPB nature reserves

RSPB Frampton Marsh nature reserve, Lincolnshire The highly pathonegic avian influenza H5N8 has been found in wildfowl on two RSPB reserves in England.

The virus has been detected in dead birds found at Frampton Marsh nature reserve in Lincolnshire and Marshside reserve in Southport, Merseyside.

Following advice from Public Health England the RSPB is not initially closing the reserves. Signage at the affected sites provides guidance to visitors, emphasising the importance of hygiene. Visitors should take care to avoid physical contact with dead or sick birds, which should be reported to site staff or directly to the Defra hotline (03459 33 55 77).

There is no record of this strain of bird flu ever being transferred to people and the risk to humans is low. Defra have assessed that the risk to poultry remains at low to medium, and will vary according to the level of biosecurity on site.

These findings are amongst 18 infected birds recorded across the UK in the last two weeks by the Animal & Plant Health Agency. Ducks, sea birds and birds of prey with H5N8 have been found in Carmarthenshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Leicestershire, Somerset, Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire and Merseyside.