Avian influenza has been confirmed in wild bird populations at Kingsbury Water Park in North Warwickshire.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has now confirmed there is avian influenza A(H5N1) in wild bird populations at Kingsbury Water Park in North Warwickshire.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is now urging people visiting the park and surrounding area not to touch any sick or dead wild birds.

The UKHSA, Warwickshire County Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council is working with APHA to manage the situation and protect public health and the risk to other birds.

The A(H5N1) strain is highly pathogenic to other birds, but the risk to human health is considered very low. However, it is vital that people do not touch sick live birds or bird carcasses, and infection control measures may be necessary if they do.

Dr Mamoona Tahir, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control with the UKHSA in the West Midlands. said:

“The risk to the public from this strain of avian flu is very low, however it is important that people do not touch any sick or dead birds. As a precaution, anyone who may have come into contact with the droppings or birds in an area where the infection has been confirmed will be monitored and offered a course of antiviral medication if needed.”

In areas where the infection has been confirmed or is suspected, anyone who has been in contact with sick or dead birds or their droppings, while not wearing the correct PPE, should make sure any footwear is properly cleaned and thoroughly wash their hands in soap and water. They should then notify the UK Health Security Agency’s West Midlands Health Protection Team on 0344 225 3560 so that public health experts can determine if antiviral medication and active surveillance of their condition is necessary. If someone handled infected birds while wearing adequate PPE, they must still undergo active surveillance.

Councillor Margaret Bell, Portfolio Holder for Health at Warwickshire County Council, said:

“Warwickshire County Council has acted swiftly to support partner agencies to ensure the safety of the public. A range of signs with advice for visitors to Kingsbury are currently in place across the site. We are also asking people not to feed the wild birds at this time.

“If you find a sick or dead bird, contact the park rangers on 07785522684. Do not touch or move dead birds and keep dogs away from them.”

Dr Shade Agboola, Director of Public Health, Warwickshire County Council said:

“The incidence of avian flu in the wild bird population is something that we are taking very seriously.

“The UKHSA has made it clear that the risk of the disease transferring from birds to humans is considered to be very low. To ensure this situation remains, the advice we have received is that members of the public should not touch or go near sick or dying birds and any dead birds found should be reported to the park rangers to assist with disposal.

“We have also put up posters in the area to ask people not to feed the birds and remind people to keep to footpaths and to keep dogs on leads.”

Kingsbury water park is a country park provided by Warwickshire County Council and offers a safe environment for local residents and families to enjoy the countryside. It is managed by rangers who monitor local bird population carefully, which is one of the reasons why avian flu has been detected. It is likely that avian flu is circulating in a wider area and anyone who sees sick or dead birds by waterways or on your private land in North Warwickshire, should not touch them and call the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

For more information contact UKHSA West Midlands press office on 0121 232 9223/4 Out Of Hours 07834 311 393

About Avian Influenza

Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by the influenza A virus. Birds are the hosts for most avian influenza viruses and a variety of influenza subtypes can be found in birds, particularly in waterfowl and shore birds. Domestic poultry are especially vulnerable, and the virus can rapidly cause epidemics in flocks. Wild birds migrating to the UK from mainland Europe and Asian during the winter period can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds. Human infections with avian influenza are rare. The symptoms of avian influenza in humans vary considerably depending on the strain or subtype of the virus involved. Most infections take the form of a flu-like illness (fever, cough, body or muscle pain, sore throat, runny nose). Other symptoms can include conjunctivitis (red, sore and discharging eyes). Information on the different strains of influenza virus can be found online. Further information on avian influenza in humans is available on the WHO website.

Further information:

  • An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared across Great Britain effective from 5pm on 3 November 2021. This decision was reviewed on 29 April 2022 and remains in place until further notice The AIPZ means all bird keepers in Great Britain (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions.
  • Separate AIPZ declarations have been made in each Great Britain administration. Further information is available online: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
  • If avian influenza has already been confirmed at a location, anyone calling the Defra helpline will be advised that Defra will not be collecting the dead birds in that area – local arrangements should be made, so please contact the relevant local authority for advice and look on their website for latest information.
  • The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out year-round avian influenza surveillance of dead wild birds submitted via public reports and warden patrols. The APHA will collect some of these birds and test them to help us understand how the disease is distributed geographically and in different types of bird, not all birds will be collected. More information is available online: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
  • Avian Influenza is in no way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is not carried in birds.
  • The Defra website has information and guidance on:
    • the latest avian flu situation
    • how to spot avian flu, including what to do if you suspect it
    • measures to prevent it
  • Avian influenza is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu you must report it immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.
  • You can report suspected or confirmed cases in:
    • England by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301
    • Scotland by contacting your local Field Services Office
    • Wales by calling 0300 303 8268
    • Northern Ireland by calling the DAERA Helpline on 0300 2007840

Published: 22nd June 2022