One of the swans which died at a Blackpool park has tested positive bird flu, it has been confirmed.
Three swans died at Stanley Park after showing symptoms of the disease, also known as avian influenza.
Blackpool Council says a total of 15 birds have died with similar symptoms and confirmed that one of the swans was carrying the disease.
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A cordon has been erected after the birds died and while the park is still open, people are asked not to go near the edge of the lake.
Avian influenza is a disease which mainly affects birds but on rare occasions it can affect mammals including humans.
Consequently, several precautionary measures have been put in place around the several areas in where it has been identified in Lancashire and Cumbria – including a 3km protection zone, a 10km surveillance zone and the humane culling of birds at risk of infection
A spokesperson for Blackpool Council said: “Unfortunately one of the swans that died at Stanley Park last week has tested positive for Avian Influenza.
“Sadly 15 birds have now died with similar symptoms.
“We know that many people love visiting Stanley Park and will find this upsetting news. We can assure you that the birds are well fed and we are keeping a close eye on them.
“Although the risk to the general public’s health is very low it is vitally important visitors to the park follow the signage that is in place.”
Over the last week, disease control zones were put in place in Kirkham, Preston, South Ribble, Wyre,Fylde and Copeland in Cumbria.
The Cumbrian case has been confirmed by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as being highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which is the more serious type and is often fatal in birds. However, the risk to public health remains “very low”.
Blackpool Council has issued advice to those visiting Stanley Park, including to respect the cordon and not walk by the lake or dogs in the water. It also warned people not to touch any injured or deceased birds.
The spokesperson added: “Thank you to everyone who has offered support and assistance. Our team has been specially trained and has appropriate PPE to handle the birds to minimise any risks.
We will continue to keep you updated and will lift the cordon once it is safe to do so.”
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