Further Update on Bird Flu – November 2020

This situation seems to moving fast so although we don’t have any local cases this is the latest Defra information.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across the whole of England to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss has confirmed today (11 November).

This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.

Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese are also urged to strengthen their biosecurity measures in order to prevent further outbreaks of avian influenza in the UK.

Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

The UK Government has worked closely with Scottish and Welsh Governments to introduce national prevention zones at the same time, meaning that the restrictions will be applied across the whole of Great Britain.

The introduction of the AIPZ comes after two separate, unrelated cases in kept poultry and birds confirmed in England last week and a third case of H5N8 avian flu in captive birds was confirmed today at a broiler breeder farm in Herefordshire. A very small number of wild birds in South West of England have also been found to have had the disease.

The introduction of a prevention zone follows a decision to raise the risk level for avian influenza incursion in wild Birds in Great Britain from ‘medium’ to ‘high’ last week.

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said:

I have today declared a national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) legislating for actions all bird keepers must take to help prevent the disease spreading to more poultry and other domestic birds.

Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

The prevention zone means bird keepers across the country must:

  • Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;
  • Keep your birds in a covered run area, do not free range them;
  • Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
  • Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures;
  • Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;
  • Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.

In conjuction with our Covid rules when you visit us please stay in your car, we will come to you, only leave your car if you are asked to do so and for now please keep any passengers including children in your car.

We will update this post when we have more information.

 

John and Caroline x