Bird flu confirmed in wild swans in East Anglia

A pair of swans breaking through the icy water close to Reedham Church on a cold and frosty morning

Swans found near the Norfolk-Cambridgeshire border have tested positive for bird flu - Credit: James Bass © 2016

Wild swans found dead in the Fens have tested positive for bird flu - prompting warnings for the public not to touch dead or sick birds they find in the countryside.

Defra's latest research on avian influenza in wild bird populations, updated today, shows 16 confirmed cases across the country last week including a mute swan in Suffolk and two swans in Cambridgeshire.

One dead swan reported near March, in the Fens close to the Norfolk border, was among the growing list of birds which had tested positive for the disease, although the exact strain had not yet been determined. More suspected cases in the area are still awaiting confirmation.

Although Public Health England advises the risk to humans from the H5N8 and H5N2 strains of bird flu is very low, people have been warned not to touch any dead birds, but to report them immediately.

A Defra spokesman said: "Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.


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"If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77)."

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