Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Keep birds inside to prevent spread, say rescue pair

Keep birds inside to prevent spread, say rescue pair

PEOPLE who care for birds have been urged to keep them indoors during the avian flu outbreak.

Eleanor Ball, of Wargrave Bird Rescue, said it was important to prevent the spread of the virus.

She said: “If you do care for birds at home, it is so important to keep them in lockdown, away from wild birds, to avoid the spread of the virus.

“If you encounter a sick or deceased bird, and you believe it has bird flu, it is recommended by Defra to report it to the Animal and Plant Health Agency.”

Eleanor is studying veterinary medicine at Cambridge University and runs Wargrave Bird Rescue with her mother, Sarah, at the family home in Victoria Road. The family began caring for birds after adopting chickens in 2010 and about four years ago they started looking after injured and sick birds.  The ressued birds are kept in aviaries in the garden.

Eleanor said: “Our concern is that if it does infect humans, then it has a 60 per cent mortality rate. While it is very rare, it is possible to catch it. We are basically human Petri dishes for the virus — if a human already has a strain of flu and they contract bird flu at the same time, the viruses combine and mutate.

“This is called antigenic shift. It becomes a novel sub-type virus we haven’t seen before, like with the covid pandemic.”

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