Fresh bird flu warning after dead wild duck in Wales found to have disease

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Poultry keepers are being urged to remain vigilant over bird flu after a dead wild duck in Wales was found to have a dangerous strain of the disease.

The wigeon-type duck, found in Carmarthenshire, had the same highly-pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian flu that was found in a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last week and has been circulating in Europe.

A temporary ban on events involving gatherings of poultry including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese such as auctions and livestock fairs has been imposed across England, Scotland and Wales to prevent spread of the disease.

A prevention zone is also in place, which requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep them inside or take appropriate steps to keep them separate, and protect them, from wild birds.

Public Health England said the risk to public health from the virus is very low.

UK chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens said: "This is the same strain we have seen in Lincolnshire and across Europe, and this finding is not unexpected.

"As this is a wild bird, it highlights the importance for poultry keepers to follow our clear advice on biosecurity and to comply fully with the prevention zone and temporary gatherings ban, announced earlier this month.

"It is important to reiterate Public Health England's advice that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

"We are working with ornithological groups to further strengthen surveillance and will continue to consider any other proportionate measures available to us to limit the risk of spread to poultry."