Avian flu outbreak in Birmingham poses threat to local bird population

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Birmingham City Council have published a warning to the public amid a worrying spread of Avian flu among Birmingham’s bird population. The council confirmed avian flu cases in the Canadian goose population in Cannon Hill Park and Witton Lakes.   

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (ABBR) had confirmed that the H5N1 strain of avian flu is present amongst the wild bird population in the city.

While the council have issued warnings, the flu poses a low threat to humans. However, it can be lethal for pet and domesticated birds. Professor Ian Brown, Head of Virology at the Animal and Plant Health Agency said: “Avian influenza can be a serious infection for birds.

“Some strains such as the H5N1 currently causing outbreaks in the UK have a very high lethality when it spreads from wild birds to domestic poultry”.

Paul Bateman, from the West Midlands Bird Club spoke of the risk to domesticated birds within the Birmingham area.

He said: “Bird flu is mainly spread from wildfowl like swans and geese – they migrate from Siberia and pass the virus on to native species.”

Bateman added that he would advise bird owners to “keep their wildfowl indoors in sheds and away from places where wild birds tend to gather”.  

The council recommend that any dead or sick birds found should be reported to the Birmingham City Council team on 0121 454 7810. 

Council warnings around Edgbaston reservoir.
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