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Avian Flu Update and Cautionary Measures

Avian Flu Update and Cautionary Measures

Avian Influenza (“Bird Flu”) has been identified in wild birds in England in 2018. All poultry keepers should undertake prevention measures to ensure that their birds are not infected. 

Defra introduced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in England and Wales after the H5N6 bird flu strain was identified in wild birds in two separate locations (South Dorset and Warwickshire, both confirmed this January).

This prevention zone applies to everyone who keeps poultry or captive birds, whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in their backyard.

As a result of this, it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers in England and Wales to follow strict biosecurity measures. We, therefore, recommend that you continue to implement the following practises in order to proactively protect against any chance of infection.

  • Register your birds with APHA
  • Report any birds that are sick
  • Sign up for disease alerts

 

Defra also states that you should increase your biosecurity measures to minimise contact with wild birds or potential contaminants, such as bird droppings, which are known to spread bird flu:

  • Minimise movement in and out of your bird enclosure
  • Clean footwear before and after visiting your birds
  • Keep bird enclosures clean and tidy, and regularly disinfect any hard surfaces
  • Humanely control rats and mice
  • Place birds’ food and water in fully-enclosed areas that wild birds cannot access and remove any spilled feed
  • Keep your birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around the outdoor areas they access
  • Make sure equipment, feed and bedding are stored undercover so they cannot be contaminated by wild birds
  • Where possible, keep chickens and turkeys separate from ducks and geese

 

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health from H5N8 and H5N6 Avian Influenza is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that the disease poses no food safety risk for UK consumers. To date, there have been no detections in poultry or kept birds in the UK.

We will keep you updated and inform you as to any necessary changes in biosecurity measures as they arise. For further information, check the Defra website or if you have any queries, please contact your Certification Officer

This helpful poster is also available to download with steps to follow when implementing biosecurity measures.

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