Bird flu Edinburgh: Experts investigate potential bird flu outbreak at Gladhouse Reservoir near Edinburgh

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Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs investigating after dead birds discovered

A possible bird flu outbreak has been discovered at Gladhouse Reservoir in the Pentland Hills, with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) now investigating after dead birds were found in the area. Scottish Water, which is responsible for the reservoir near Edinburgh, has confirmed that dead birds have been found there in recent weeks.

Avian flu (bird flu) is killing vulnerable and rare wild birds across the UK and worldwide. As with other viruses, there are lots of different strains, most of which cause no or few signs of disease in infected wild birds. By contrast, the current outbreak is of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), which can cause severe disease and high mortality.

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Local man Jon Steele contacted the Evening News after he noticed dead birds around the reservoir. He said: “We have gone from one to eight dead geese and swans at Gladhouse over the weekend. Given there are hundreds of geese and waterfowl I suspect within a week or two that might be quite a lot of dead birds.”

Dead birds have been discovered around Gladhouse Reservoir in recent weeks.Dead birds have been discovered around Gladhouse Reservoir in recent weeks.
Dead birds have been discovered around Gladhouse Reservoir in recent weeks.

A Scottish Water spokesperson said: “Scottish Water is aware of birds dying at Gladhouse Reservoir. We have reported this to DEFRA and erected their signs asking people and pets to stay away from the birds to reduce the risk of spreading potential bird flu. DEFRA are currently analysing the birds and we will follow their guidance on next steps. We will remove any carcasses we find when the snow begins to thaw.”

A spokesperson for the Animal and Plant Health Agency, an executive agency of DEFRA, said: “We are aware of a number of wild birds deaths in the Edinburgh area and we are investigating these deaths as part of our wild bird surveillance programme. The risk to the general public from avian influenza is very low. However members of the public should not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds.”

Bird flu mostly spreads from bird to bird through contact with infected saliva, nasal secretions or droppings. The most recent series of outbreaks is unprecedented – the largest ever in the UK –and has killed tens of thousands of birds.