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H5N1 avian influenza detected at Worcestershire wild bird rescue centre

An avian influenza outbreak

H5N1 avian influenza (AI) has been detected in a number of birds of different species at a wildlife centre near Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire.

All birds on the site have now been culled, and the strain has been confirmed as highly pathogenic.

See also: Avian influenza: How to spot it and ways to prevent it

A 3km Protection and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of disease spread.

It is the same wild bird centre that was hit by a highly pathogenic H5N8 AI outbreak last winter.

The outbreak marks the first in this winter season, and investigations will now try to determine if this infection was caused by residual virus present in the UK or imported by migrating wild birds.

The risk to human health is low.

‘Pay extra attention to bird health’

UK chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “As we move into the higher risk period over winter, bird keepers should pay extra attention to the health of their birds.

“Anybody who suspects disease should report it to their vet or APHA immediately.

“The best way to tackle this disease is for poultry keepers to ensure that they have strong biosecurity measures in place.”

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77, and producers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

This story was updated on 27 October at 5 pm to reflect that testing had confirmed the virus as highly pathogenic.