The first case of H5N8 transmission has been detected just weeks after the strain was found in birds in the Falmouth area.

The highly pathogenic strain was detected in humans for the first time after seven workers at a poultry plant in southern Russia had been infected after an outbreak their at the end of last year.

The news comes after two cases of Avian Influenza were detected at a site in near Falmouth and members of the public are being warned to stay away from sickly or dead birds in the area.

Signs have been erected in and around the site to warn dog walkers, birdwatchers and those using the wooded area to stay clear of any potentially infected animals.

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “In January two swans in the Falmouth area were found to have been infected with Avian Influenza.

“The bodies were collected by the Animal Plant Health Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Tests confirmed that both birds were infected with the H5N8 strain of the virus.

“As a precautionary measure, signs were put up in the area advising members of the public to stay away from dead or sick birds.

“There have been no further confirmed cases of avian flu in the area however we are continuing to monitor the situation.

“We urge that people avoid contact with dead or sick wild birds and to report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and select option 7.”

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Similar cases have also been detected in Devon and Plymouth

Public Health England (PHE) has advised that the risk to the public’s health from all four of the virus strain which have been found in England (H5N2, H5N8, H5N5, H5N1) is very low.

However, measures have now been put in place in order to further prevent the spread of these strains.

According to information published by DEFRA and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, new housing measures, which came into force on 14 December, mean that is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

The agencies were also swift to assure the public that Avian Influenza is in no way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is not carried in poultry.