Farmers and poultry owners are being urged to keep their birds indoors after the first case of avian flu in a wild bird was confirmed in the UK.

Tests on a swan found dead in Cellardyke, near Fife, Scotland, confirmed yesterday that it had the H5N1 strain of avian flu.

A 10km-radius protection and surveillance zone has been set up around Cellardyke and farmers and poultry owners within the zone, and in an extended area covering the Montrose Basin, an area of wetland which attracts large numbers of wild birds, have been urged to keep their birds inside.

The National Farmers' Union supported the decision. Peter Kendall, NFU President, said: “It is likely that the dead bird was a native mute swan, so the caution being exercised is wise.”

He added: “The NFU is advising its members to review their biosecurity arrangements, and to do everything possible - such as keeping food and water supplies under cover - to avoid attracting wild birds which could then mix with commercial poultry. Outdoor poultry keepers are also advised to review their contingency plans for housing their birds, should it become necessary.”

Meanwhile, the Food Standards Agency has stressed that avian flu does not pose a food safety risk to consumers: “If you wish to eat poultry and eggs you should continue to do so, following the normal precautions,” it added.