11:42AM, Wednesday 07 February 2018
More than 30 swans are feared to have died from bird flu in Windsor.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed seven mute swans in the area have tested positive for avian influenza following tests carried out earlier this week.
Wendy Hermon, treatment & rescue co-ordinator at Datchet-based Swan Support, said the charity’s volunteers started discovering the sick birds on Monday, January 29.
She told the Express: “We thought that maybe some virus was going through them but then in one day five died and what’s when we knew something was up.
“It’s (death toll) in the 30s.”
Defra has advised anyone keeping poultry or captive birds to register them with the Animal and Plant Health Agency, report any sick birds and sign up for disease alerts.
An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone has also been introduced across England making it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.
This was brought in on January 18 after H5N6 bird flu was identified in wild birds in South Dorset and Warwickshire.
UK chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens said: “We are continuing to see cases of bird flu in wild birds across the country which is why, if you keep birds, it is absolutely essential that you do all you can to protect them and help prevent the spread of disease.”
Safety measures to prevent the spread of disease include keeping bird enclosures clean and tidy, ensuring wild birds cannot access feeding areas and making sure equipment is kept undercover so it cannot be contaminated by wild birds.
Wendy added that she does not expect a cull to take place in Windsor and it will be a case of waiting for the disease to burn itself out.
She said: “It’s going to be devastating.
“We don’t know when it’s going to stop and how many it’s going to kill off.”
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NHS data shows 187 people were being cared for at the trust’s three hospitals – Wexham Park, Heatherwood and Frimley Park – as of Tuesday, February 23.