Avian influenza (bird flu) national prevention zone declared

12 November 2020

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across England, Scotland and Wales to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading. The UK Government has worked closely with Scottish and Welsh Governments to introduce national prevention zones at the same time which means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers, including those with backyard flocks, to follow strict biosecurity measures until further notice.

The prevention zone means bird keepers across GB 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;
  • 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.

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 influenza in captive birds was confirmed yesterday (11/11) 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 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.

Defra and APHA would like to remind all bird keepers of the need to maintain the highest standards of biosecurity to prevent the introduction of disease, and to report any clinical signs indicative of avian influenza.

Vets in practice may wish to highlight the outbreaks and government advice to any clients who keep poultry, game birds or other domestic birds so as to ensure they remain vigilant and are aware of both their responsibilities and any reporting requirements.

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