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Bird Flu

Bird flu has been confirmed on the Isle of Wight, the local authority has confirmed this afternoon (Wednesday).

A wild swan found deceased at Ryde Canoe Lake has tested positive for H5N8 avian flu, meaning the influenza has now reached the Island.

Avian influenza can be deadly to birds but has little direct impact on humans. Public Health England advises that the risk to public health is very low, and the Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

As previously reported by Island Echo, 7 swans have been found dead at the canoe lake over the past 2 weeks – 4 in the past 2 days alone. Each reported death has been investigated by the council but in only 1 case was the dead bird still present. That bird was securely stored and reported to DEFRA.

As a precaution, footpaths around Ryde Canoe Lake will now be closed off. Police have implemented a cordon in the area this lunchtime.

Visitors to Ryde Canoe Lake or nearby water bodies are being asked to not attempt to feed the waterfowl at this time, as this may attract them to locations where they could spread infection, especially in areas where domesticated birds might also be about.

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Large die off of seagulls, cormorants and up to 30 swans in Lolland, Denmark

A large number of dead birds, including seagulls, cormorants and up to 30 swans, was found at a lake on the Danish island of Lolland on Tuesday.
The animals were found at a body of water near the town of Maribo, reports
A local resident discovered the dead birds and contacted local municipal, animal welfare and food control agencies.
Lolland-Falster’s fire service was also called to the scene to remove the animals, according to the report.
“Some of the them have been dead for a long time due to injuries from the winter, so it is mostly the large flock of swans that gives us cause for concern,” environmental officer Dorthe Prit Lahrmann told
The cause of death of the birds is currently unknown, but Lahrmann said that avian influenza was a possible reason.
A veterinary unit will analyse the dead animals in order to determine a cause of death, a process likely to take “a few days,” she said.
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Dozens of swans belonging to Queen Elizabeth dying due to Bird Flu in Windsor, UK

Bird Flu
An illness which led to the death of dozens of the Queen’s swans in Windsor has been confirmed as bird flu, Defra has said.
More than 30 of the swans on the River Thames have died and several more are “still dying”.
Seven of the dead birds were sent for testing on Monday after experts suspected an outbreak of avian flu.
Defra has said that the outbreak, which is the largest in England this year, will not lead to a cull of the birds.
Wendy Hermon from Swan Support is leading the clear up and said she is still seeing more birds becoming ill.
“It seems to take 48 hours from the start of them not looking very well to when they die,” she said.
Ms Hermon and her team are collecting dead birds “as quickly as they can from the water” in an effort to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.
She told the BBC “following advice from the [Health and Safety Executive], we are bagging them up and spraying them with disinfectant on site, so there is no risk of spread.”
She explained that the team leave sick, but living, birds in situ to avoid contaminating other areas.
Professor of virology at the University of Reading, Ian Jones, said he is hopeful that the outbreak can be contained.
He told the BBC: “We are not in the situation that we were in last year when chickens were being kept indoors, we are a step before it.
“The outbreak is only in wild birds so far, which is where we would like to keep it till the end of the season.”
David Barber, the Queen’s Swan Marker, said experience from other places suggests “it will gradually burn itself out in two to three weeks.”
Mr Barber, who is responsible for the centuries old tradition of carrying out the annual swan census, said: “The flock have been at Windsor for many hundreds of years”
“We don’t want them [tourists] to see the dead birds on the bank,” he added.
This outbreak comes days after a bird flu prevention zone was established across England to “help prevent the virus spreading”.
Public Health England advises that the risk to public health from avian influenza is very low.
Courtesy of BBC News 

80 swans have died due to bird flu in Dorset, UK

Bird Flu
Workers at a world-famous Dorset wildlife centre are coming to terms with the death of 80 swans in a bird flu outbreak.
Since late December, 80 swans have died at Abbotsbury Swannery near Weymouth.
Abbotsbury Tourism general manager John Houston said: “It’s been really tough on the staff here. The deaths have been very sad for us all.”
The tourist attraction is closed for the winter and its plans to reopen in March are not affected, Mr Houston said.
Mr Houston said that the welfare of the birds and of Swannery staff was a top priority.
He said: “Cases of avian flu have been reported in wild birds in Europe and in a number of locations across the UK.
“The current H5N8 strain of bird flu is of very low risk to public health and has never transferred to humans, but the well being of the swans and other birds that visit the Swannery is paramount.
“The Swannery is currently closed to the public for the winter and is not due to reopen until March. Current access to the site is therefore restricted to staff members only.
“We are closely monitoring the health of the swans and our staff are taking all necessary precautionary measures as advised.”
There were initially nine cases of avian flu reported at the Swannery.
The news comes soon after a dead wild pigeon tested positive for the H5N8 strain of the disease in Somerset in late December.
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ozens of swans found dead and more dying on Snoqualmie River in Washington, USA

What started as a few reports of dead trumpeter swans in the Snoqualmie Valley has turned into much more. Dozens of birds are dead and many more are terminally ill in an area near Carnation along the Snoqualmie River.
Experts believe it to be a massive case of lead poisoning.
A lone trumpeter swan appears perfectly fine as it floats in a Snoqualmie River side channel, but it’s in serious trouble.
“The only good news is, it’s not raining,” said Martha Jordan, coordinator with Washington Swan Stewards.
Jordan is going after that swan like she has dozens more just like it since a lead poisoning die off began late last month.
“Probably it’s close to 50 down here,” she said.
Nothing is easy when it comes to collecting dead and dying swans. Today Jordan is using her specially trained dog to herd a sick swan close enough for her to net it.
The swan has enough strength to fly away, but its days are numbered.
“Even if we caught it today, it will not be surviving. It’s just not something you can rehabilitate,” said Jordan.
Jordan cannot un-poison the birds, which have apparently eaten small, lead shotgun pellets. She can only keep searching for them in hopes of capturing them and humanely putting them down.
Her next chance to do that is at a nearby golf course where she spotted a sick swan during an aerial survey yesterday.
This one requires extra equipment.
“The hope is they can seal off its escape in one direction, get the boat in the water and actually capture it,” said Jordan.
It is not to be. The swan musters enough strength for a low aerial escape.
“That bird is essentially a flying mortality,” she said.
Each death, each escape by a dying bird takes an emotional toll on Jordan and her team. But there is no time to reflect on it.
Even though lead shot was outlawed for hunting water fowl years ago, many more Trumpeters swans are finding it and dying from it in the Snoqualmie Valley.
Jordan believes the lead was probably washed down to the river corridor by floodwaters from upland areas where lead shot is still legal.
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