Avian flu cases confirmed in swans on Ulverston canal

27 November 2020

South Lakeland District Council has been notified by The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) of cases of Avian Flu involving swans on the canal at Ulverston.

The council understands that a number of swans have died in the area of the canal and that tests have shown positive results for Avian Influenza H5N8.

DEFRA has been notified and Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low.

The council has been advised that the canal footpath can remain open to the public as the risk is very low. Members of the public are, however, being urged to avoid direct contact with wild dead or dying birds and to report wild dead or dying birds to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

DEFRA advice is that Avian Influenza is not connected to the COVID-19 pandemic which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is not carried in birds or poultry.

There have been a small number of cases of Avian Influenza also detected in other parts of England. 

There have been a number of confirmed reports of Avian Influenza in wild birds including geese and swans in the Netherlands and northern Germany in recent weeks. These wild birds are all on the waterfowl flyway from breeding grounds in western Russia, where the H5N8 strain was reported in poultry in mid-October.

Bird keepers, including those with domestic poultry should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises. 

For further information see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/avian-influenza-bird-flu-national-prevention-zone-declared