A CASE of bird flu has been found in Dorset involving a wild swan.

The confirmed positive test for avian influenza H5N8 near Poole comes a short time after a wild goose near Weymouth also tested positive.

Providing an update earlier this week, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said bird flu cases had been identified across the country in wild birds, including in Gloucestershire, Cambridgeshire Devon, Lancashire and Lincolnshire.

The pathotype of the strain found in the swan near Poole is yet to be confirmed.

Cases have also been found involving poultry and other captive birds in Leicestershire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Cheshire and Kent.

A Defra spokesperson said: "Following confirmed cases of avian influenza in England and increasing reports of avian influenza affecting flocks in mainland Europe, the risk level for avian influenza incursion in wild birds in GB was been raised from ‘medium’ to ‘high’ on the 6 November 2020.

"The risk level for the disease being introduced to poultry premises in GB was also raised from ‘low’ to ‘medium’ on the November 6. It should be noted that the risk of introduction to individual premises depends upon the level of biosecurity implemented on a premises to prevent direct or indirect contact with wild birds.

"In response to the increased risk an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone has been declared in England, Scotland and Wales and the Chief Vets from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are urging bird keepers across the UK to maintain and strengthen their biosecurity measures in order to prevent further outbreaks of avian influenza in the UK.

"If you keep poultry (including game birds or as pets), you should follow our biosecurity best practice advice. Remain vigilant for any signs of disease in your flock and report any sign of avian influenza to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

"Public Health England advises that the risk to the public’s health is very low. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

"Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (COVID-19)."