We have been informed that highly pathonegic avian influenza H5N8 has been recorded in a small number of wildfowl on RSPB reserves at Frampton and Marshside. The virus was detected in birds found dead on site as a result of the vigilance of  reserve staff and visitors. This finding is not unexpected as the disease has already been found in wild birds across Europe, including cases in England, Scotland and Wales earlier this month.

Following advice from Public Health England we will not initially be closing the reserves. Signage at the affected sites provides guidance to visitors, emphasising the importance of hygiene. Visitors should take care to avoid physical contact with dead or sick birds, which should be reported to site staff or directly to the Defra hotline (details below). RSPB staff and volunteers across our entire reserves network will continue to be vigilant for dead or sick birds and will report these to Defra as required.

There is no record of this strain of bird flu ever being transferred to people and the risk to humans is low. Defra have assessed that the risk to poultry remains at low to medium, and will vary according to the level of biosecurity on site.

Members of the public are encouraged to report any dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), or other dead wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey, to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

More information about the latest situation on bird flu in the UK and advice on reducing risks can be found on the Defra website here: