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Disease Update 12th November: Avian Influenza National Prevention Zone Declared

Following recent cases of Avian Influenza (AI) within the UK, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer confirmed that an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone will be put in place covering the whole of England. This new legislation was brought into effect in England at 5pm yesterday (11th November), with similar protocols also being announced in Scotland and Wales.

As stated on the website the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) means that the following restrictions have now been brought into place:

All poultry keepers in England (whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions. The AIPZ means extra biosecurity measures must be done by all bird keepers (including game birds and pet birds) to protect them from the risk of avian influenza from wild birds.

If you keep poultry (including gamebirds or pet birds) or other captive birds, you must act now to reduce the risk of disease in your flock by following the relevant biosecurity measures required within the AIPZ.

Good biosecurity improves the overall health and productivity of your flock by helping keep out poultry diseases such as avian influenza and limiting the spread of disease in an outbreak.

For more information on the AIPZ, please see the website here.

A statement from the 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.’

To keep up to date with the latest AI news, please see the website here.

These changes have come into place following AI cases being identified in recent days. These include:

• A case of Avian Influenza (H5N8 – strain yet to be confirmed) identified in broiler breeder chickens near Leominster Herefordshire on 11th November.
• Highly Pathogenic H5N8 AI confirmed in Frodsham, Cheshire on 2nd November.
• Low Pathogenic H5N2 AI confirmed at a premises near Deal, Kent on 2nd November.

There have also been cases of highly pathogenic H5N8 AI identified in wild birds in recent days including in 3 geese in Stroud, Gloucestershire, swans in Dawlish, Devon and a wild goose in Weymouth, Dorset where the strain is yet to be identified.

We will keep you updated on any further developments. If you have any queries regarding this outbreak and/or any concerns about your birds – particularly if you are overwintering stock – then please speak to your regional vet or contact the practice on 01392 872932.