Bird flu has been detected in a number of cases across Devon, prompting warnings to not touch dead or injured birds when out and about.

So far in 2022, there have been 13 cases where 23 wild birds tested positive for avian influenza.

Up until the week ending Sunday 4 September, there have been:

  • Five birds (three findings) in East Devon – breeds included mute swans and herring gulls.
  • 17 birds (nine findings) in Mid Devon – breeds included geese and herring gulls.
  • One herring gull found by Devon County Council.
  • Cornwall has also seen 11 cases, where 25 birds tested positive. Breeds include gannets, herring gulls, Canadian geese and pheasants.

This week a number of dead birds have washed up on East Devon beaches, including Exmouth. The animals were collected by East Devon District Council (EDDC) officers who have informed DEFRA.

In the meantime, EDDC has issued the following guidance, although the risk to public health is very low:

If you find any sick or injured birds:

  • Do not touch or pick them up.
  • Do not touch bird droppings.
  • Keep dogs away from them.

Instead, please report it to EDDC, which will collect and dispose accordingly if found it is on public land. The criteria for reporting to Defra now asks for reports if there is, one or more dead bird of prey or owl, three or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks) or five or more dead birds of any species.

There are also a number of current ‘disease control zones’ in force in Devon, which are put in place when avian influenza is confirmed or suspected in poultry or other captive birds.

Locations include:

  • South Molton, North Devon, Devon
  • Paignton, Torbay, Devon
  • Three locations in Cullompton, Mid Devon, Devon
  • Tiverton, Mid Devon
  • Ashburton, Teignbridge, Devon
  • Dartington, South Hams, Devon

A regional Avian Influenza Protection Zone also covers significant parts of the South West including Cornwall, Isles of Scilly, Torridge, West Devon, Teignbridge, Torbay, Plymouth city, North Devon, Mid Devon, East Devon, Exeter, Somerset and Taunton.

For the latest data on wild birds visit: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1102667/ai-findings-week_35.csv/preview

For the latest data on disease control zones visit: Avian influenza (bird flu): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu-cases-and-disease-control-zones-in-england

For the latest declaration of a regional Avian Influenza Prevention Zone visit: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1101441/Regional_AIPZ_Declaration_31_August_2022_Cornwall__Devon__Somerset.pdf

ENDS