Members of the public are being warned NOT to pick up or touch dead birds after the number of confirmed cases of Avian Influenza (otherwise known as Bird Flu) in wild birds rises in Cumbria.
Avian Influenza is often fatal in birds, however, the risk to public health remains very low.
Usually, the disease mainly affects birds, but on rare occasions, it can affect mammals including humans.
Anyone who comes across dead or sick birds in public places, should NOT touch or pick them up and should report them via the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).
Bird keepers who suspect bird flu in their poultry or other captive birds, must report it immediately by calling 03000 200 301.
Colin Cox, Director of Public Health at Cumberland Council and Interim Director of Public Health at Westmorland and Furness Council, said:
"Although the risk to the public is very low, it’s important people do not touch or pick up any sick or dead birds to avoid spreading the virus, which can affect humans in rare cases.
"If you do find any dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds while out and about, please report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 or report dead birds online on GOV.UK.
"We would also urge bird keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease and report any suspected cases to their nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency office.”
For the latest updates, advice and guidance, especially if you keep birds, visit the government website.
If you employ people who work with poultry or work with poultry yourself, you can also read Health and Safety Executive advice on protecting workers from avian influenza.