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7:44 PM 9th December 2021
nature

Bird Flu -Latest Situation - Updated 13 December 2021

Photo by Zachariah Smith on Unsplash
Photo by Zachariah Smith on Unsplash
The Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed to bring in new housing measures to protect poultry and captive birds from avian influenza following a number of confirmed cases across Great Britain in recent weeks.

The new housing measures, which came into force on Monday 29 November, means that it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

Wild birds migrating to the UK from mainland Europe during the winter months can carry the disease and this can lead to cases in poultry and other captive birds.

Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

Housing measures have been in place for parts of North Yorkshire since 21 November following a number of confirmed and suspect cases of H5N1 avian influenza in poultry in the area.

Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that you find and instead report them to the relevant helpline below. There is no impact on the consumption of properly cooked poultry products including eggs.

The additional housing measures build on the strengthened biosecurity regulations that were brought in across Great Britain as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) on 3 November 2021 and in and Northern Ireland on 17 November 2021.

The introduction of housing measures means that from 29 November, in addition to housing all poultry and captive birds, keepers must continue taking extra precautions to keep their flocks safe. This includes regularly cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles when entering or exiting sites and limiting access to non-essential workers or visitors.

The Chief Veterinary Officers from across all four nations have worked together to introduce the new housing measures at the same time, meaning that the restrictions will be applied across the whole of the UK.

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said:
"We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease but we are continuing to see a growing number of bird flu cases on farms and in backyard flocks across the country. Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

"It is now a legal requirement to keep your birds indoors to keep them separate from wild birds which spread the disease. It is also vital that you maintain strong biosecurity by regularly checking and maintaining sheds and cleaning and disinfecting footwear to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Don’t walk the virus into your hens."


The introduction of the housing measures comes after the disease was detected in captive birds at a number of premises across Great Britain.

Poultry and captive bird keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns.

Poultry keepers must now do the following:

house or net all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild birds
cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control
thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis
keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points
minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds


These new housing measures will be kept under regular review as part of the government’s work to protect flocks.

Photo by Julia Duarte on Unsplash
Photo by Julia Duarte on Unsplash
Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that you find. If you find dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. For further information see our advice to the public.

Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in England to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301, in Wales contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. In Northern Ireland contact DAERA on 0300 200 7840. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.

Avian influenza is in no way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is not carried in poultry or captive birds.

Poultry shows, markets and gatherings:

Gatherings of poultry, galliforme or anseriforme birds have also been banned. Galliforme birds include pheasants, partridge, quail, chickens, turkey and guinea fowl. Anseriforme birds include ducks, geese, and swans. See the bird gatherings guidance for further information.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bird-gatherings-licences

Wild birds:

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out year-round avian influenza surveillance of dead wild birds submitted through public reports and warden patrols. Our weekly findings of avian influenza in wild birds can be found here. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/avian-influenza-in-wild-birds

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to Defra’s national dead wild bird helpline on 03459 33 55 77 (please select option 7) and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.

Cases in the North

H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza confirmed at a commercial poultry premises near Salwick in Lancashire on 14 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza confirmed at a commercial poultry premises near Leeming Bar in North Yorkshire on 14 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza confirmed at a premises near Kirkham in Lancashire on 16 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza confirmed at a premises near Copeland in Cumbria on 21 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza confirmed at a premises near Mouldsworth, Cheshire West & Chester, Cheshire on 21 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza confirmed at a commercial poultry premises near Thirsk, Hambleton, North Yorkshire on 21 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza confirmed at a premises near Leeming Bar, Hambleton North Yorkshire (2nd Premises), North Yorkshire on 22 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza confirmed at a premises near Thirsk, Hambleton, North Yorkshire (2nd premises) on 22 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed in birds at premises near Thirsk, Hambleton, North Yorkshire (3rd premises) on 25 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed in birds at premises near Poulton le Flyde, Wyre, Lancashire on 26 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed in captive birds (non poultry) near Clitheroe, Ribble Valley, Lancashire on 26 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed in birds at premises near Thirsk, Hambleton, North Yorkshire (4th premises) on 26 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed in commercial poultry at premises near Thirsk, Hambleton, North Yorkshire (5th premises) on 28 November.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza confirmed at a premises near Thirsk, Hambleton, North Yorkshire (6th premises) on 2 December.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed at a premises near Richmond, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire on 3 December.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed at a seventh premises near Thirsk, Hambleton, North Yorkshire on 5 December.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed at a premises near Pocklington, East Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire on 7 December.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed at eight premises near Thirsk, Hambleton, North Yorkshire on 8 December.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed at a premises near Aspatria, Allerdale, Cumbria on 9 December.
H5N1 (high pathogenic) avian influenza has been confirmed at a premises near Washington, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear on 11 December.


In all cases the birds on site are humanely culled and Protection and Surveillance Zones are put in place to limit the risk of the disease spreading.