Bird flu: Fresh warning from health board amid ongoing outbreak

A health board has issued a new warning to the public not to touch sick or dead wild birds amid an ongoing outbreak of bird flu in Europe.

NHS Grampian said it is following up with people in the local area known to have had contact with infected birds, after cases were recorded in Moray and Aberdeenshire.

Around 30 cases have been recorded in Scotland since the beginning of the year, including in Dumfries and Galloway, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire and the Borders.

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It comes after an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was introduced across the UK in November, requiring stricter infection control measures.

In France ducks await being sent to a slaughterhouse. The French government said on January 20 that it would cull more than one million birds in the coming weeks to fight a surging outbreak of avian flu on poultry farms. Photo by GAIZKA IROZ/AFP via Getty Images

Farmers in France have been ordered to kill 2.5 million animals in response to outbreaks.

While one human case of bird flu has been reported in England, officials stress the risk to humans is very low.

NHS Grampian warned the public not to touch sick or dead wild birds, and to contact the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

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“While avian influenza is not uncommon in winter and the risk to human health from infected birds is very low, a human case of avian ‘flu was confirmed in England earlier this month. As such, the public are advised not to touch sick or dead birds,” a spokesperson said.

"Wild birds across the north-east of Scotland are known to have been infected. NHS Grampian health protection team have been following up individuals known to have been in contact with infected birds, including swans, geese, and buzzards.

"Previously observed seasonal migration patterns suggest an expected increase in flocks of wild birds across the north-east of Scotland over the next few weeks.”

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