Avian flu cases have been confirmed in Epping Forest amid the UK’s largest ever outbreak.

The City of London Corporation, which manages the forest, has issued advice to the public after DEFRA confirmed cases of avian flu in the forest.

The most serious strain of avian flu, called highly pathogenic avian influenza, can be fatal to birds.

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Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee, Ben Murphy, said: “The UK Health Security Agency has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

“Therefore, the UK is facing its largest ever outbreak of bird flu and it is absolutely vital that we work together to help stop the spread.”

Visitors to the site are asked to report dead swans, geese, or ducks to the Epping Forest Team at the corporation who will arrange safe collections of any dead wild waterfowl.

Anyone who finds other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey is also asked to report it.

Visitors are also asked to keep to footpaths, keep dogs of leads, and avoid picking up, feeding, or touching wild birds or surfaces contaminated with wild bird droppings or feathers.

People who keep poultry or other birds have been asked to be particularly careful, washing their hands and cleaning and disinfecting footwear before tending to their birds.

Birds infected with the less serious strain of bird flu, called low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) may not show clear signs of infection. They may have mild breathing problems. These signs can indicate bird flu, but the avian influenza virus can only be confirmed through laboratory tests.

From November 7, birdkeepers in England will be legally required to house their poultry indoors in a bid to tackle the spread.

Turkey supplier Paul Kelly, based in Essex, said it is “the worst year I have ever known in my whole life and business, by a long way”.

He told BBC News: “It is the foot and mouth of the poultry industry at the moment. It is, in East Anglia, absolutely devastating.”