Express & Star

'Do not touch' warning as bird flu cases confirmed in Wolverhampton park

Cases of bird flu have now been confirmed in Wolverhampton.

Last updated
Canadian Geese in West Park

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is urging people not to touch any sick or dead wild birds following a spate of deaths in the city.

Cases have been confirmed in Canada geese in West Park, with pet owners asked to their animals on a lead and away from any potentially infected birds.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: "I would like to reassure residents that the risk of them catching avian flu is very low.

"This is an infectious virus which spreads among birds, and it is very unusual for humans to be affected.

"However, we are issuing a precautionary warning as it is possible for humans to catch the virus through close contact with an infected bird, dead or alive.

"Therefore, it is very important that you do not touch any sick or dead wild birds you may find. Equally, you must not touch their droppings, eggs or bedding.

"If you find any dead wild birds in our parks, do not touch them and instead report them to Wolverhampton Council’s park rangers’ team on 07766 473 150.

"In addition, please do not feed any birds until further notice as this encourages them to congregate and risk spreading the infection to other birds."

Wolverhampton Council and UKHSA West Midlands are working together and liaising with Defra (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) to manage the situation and protect public health and reduce the risk to other birds, wildlife and pets.

Dr James Chipwete, consultant in health protection with UKHSA West Midlands, said: "The A(H5N1) strain is currently the most common strain of bird flu in this country and is highly pathogenic to other birds.

"As a precaution, anyone who has been in direct contact with a sick or dying bird in an area where the infection has been confirmed, will require close monitoring and follow up with UKHSA."

For the removal of dead birds in city parks, people are urged to contact the park rangers' team on 07766 473 150.