Dead birds are washed up on East Devon beaches, including Exmouth, amid Avian Flu fears

Dead birds washed up on beaches in East Devon and Exmouth this week have been passed to the authorities amid bird flu fears.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has warned against touching sick, dead or injured birds after mute swans and herring gulls were found with avian flu in East Devon.

EDDC said the risk to public health was low and a number of disease control zones have been implemented in Devon.

An EDDC spokesperson said: “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 officers who have informed DEFRA.”

EDDC said bird flu cases had been detected in a number of cases across Devon, prompting warnings not to touch dead or injured birds.

Up until the week ending Sunday, September 4, EDDC said 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.

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

Anyone spotting sick, injured or dead birds are urged to contact the district council who will collect and dispose of any finds.

An EDDC spokesperson said: “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.”

They added: “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, EDDC said.

For the latest official information on Avian Influenza, see here.


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