Bird flu outbreak in Cornwall near Newlyn: Mousehole Wild Bird Hospital closed

An outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed in Cornwall, with a cull of affected birds due to take place today (Saturday).

Defra said ‘highly pathogenic bird flu’, more commonly known as bird flu, was confirmed at premises near Newlyn on Friday – just three days after the risk of bird flu was reduced from medium to low at scale national, and the mandatory avian influenza prevention area for poultry and captive birds surveyed.

The premises involved have not been officially named, although Defra said it was not related to poultry.

A statement on the Defra website said yesterday: “Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 was confirmed on August 19 in captive wild birds (not poultry) at premises near Newlyn, Cornwall.

“A 3km captive bird control (surveillance) zone has been set up around the premises. Affected birds will be humanely culled.

“Details of the measures, which include the housing of captive poultry and birds and a ban on the release of game birds, which apply in these areas can be found in the statement.”

However, Mousehole Wild Bird Hospital added a new update to their Facebook page this afternoon, following sample testing last night.

The hospital said: “Defra confirmed last night that samples taken from the hospital tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza (‘bird flu’).

“They are undertaking a bird cull at the site today, Saturday August 20, and undertaking an initial disinfection of the site.

“They have also implemented a controlled captive bird area (surveillance) effective 6:30 p.m. on August 19, 2022.

“The hospital team is cooperating fully with Defra after raising concerns on Thursday following its surveillance procedures detecting possible infection.

“The hospital will remain closed until Defra advises it is safe to reopen. There is no scheduled date for this at this time.”

Mousehole Wild Bird Hospital and Sanctuary was founded in 1928 and treats around 1,000 orphaned or injured wild birds a year and is the only dedicated wild bird facility in Cornwall.

The Bird Flu Restriction Zone in West Cornwall. Image: Defra

He previously said: “During the gull breeding season this year, we collected and cared for over 350 gulls of various ages, many of which have now been successfully released.

“Earlier in the year we made the decision to remain open during the breeding season, after assessing the low risk of bird flu in Cornwall, but now there is a suspicion of bird flu in our area, we have been directed by Defra/APHA to protect our current patients, we will not be admitting any more birds until further notice.

“This decision will be constantly reviewed and will be lifted as soon as the risk is again assessed as low.

“We understand the disappointment and concern this may cause our supporters and wildlife lovers, but our primary responsibility must be to the birds in our care and our team who care for them.”

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) for poultry and captive birds, previously set up last November to help stop the spread of avian influenza (bird flu), had been lifted.

The enhanced biosecurity measures were introduced across Britain when there was a medium risk (meaning ‘the event happens regularly’) for certain poultry farms.

The government said the measures had been “vital” in protecting flocks across the country from the virus which is circulating in wild birds.

However, from midday on Tuesday this week the mandatory requirements were lifted, with the risk of bird flu reduced to low (meaning ‘the event is rare but does occur’) for all poultry.

All gatherings of poultry, including at fairs, shows and markets, remain banned, due to the large number of flocks mixing together and the risk posed by any spread of infections across the country.

Measures in the controlled area of ​​captive birds (surveillance)

  • Visitor register
  • Register of poultry entering or leaving these premises
  • Record of poultry and egg movements
  • Poultry movements to be recorded
  • Visitor and poultry/egg movement records do not apply if eggs go directly to stores, movement of people to zoos, animal parks or any other place open to the public, unless otherwise specified (provided that the public does not have access to an area where the birds are kept), any person on a public road or exercising a right of access to the premises, intruders; or anyone executing the command.
  • Isolation of poultry and other captive birds
  • Where birds are isolated but not housed, the occupant should ensure that they have no contact with poultry or other captive birds in other premises and take all reasonable steps to minimize their contact with wild birds
  • Biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of spreading avian influenza to or from the premises
  • Poultry gatherings – no poultry or other captive birds to be gathered at a fair, market, show, exhibition or other gathering in the Area
  • No one shall release game birds
  • Cleaning and disinfection of vehicles transporting anything that may be contaminated, including meat, animal feed, manure or bedding
  • Cleaning and disinfection of vehicles of anyone entering or leaving the premises of the area

About Marco C. Nichols

Check Also

10 Hidden Locations In Mario Games That Most Players Never Find

Few things are as satisfying as completing a game, especially ones that are peppered with …