Avian Influenza Prevention Zone extended
An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that has been in place since 6th December will be extended until 28th February to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has confirmed.
The extension of the Prevention Zone follows cases of the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza being confirmed in turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire on 16th December and in a back yard flock of chicken and ducks in Carmarthenshire on 3rd January.
The disease has also been found in wild birds in Wales, England and Scotland, as well as in many other European countries, the Middle East and North Africa.
The zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds. Good biosecurity to minimise the risk of infection spreading via items such as feed, clothing or equipment must also be practiced by poultry keepers.
Nigel Gibbens, the Chief Veterinary Officer, commented: “The Prevention Zone means anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.
“Recent H5N8 avian flu findings in wild birds and a backyard flock in Wales highlight just how essential it is to minimise contact between wild and captive birds and maintain good biosecurity to reduce the risk of infection,” Gibbens added.
“We must continue to be vigilant and do all we can to protect against this highly pathogenic strain of the disease, which is why we are extending the Prevention Zone, have introduced a ban on poultry gatherings and continue to strengthen surveillance to understand the extent of infection in wild birds.”
Public Health England has advised that the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency has stated that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.