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Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Declared

Disease Update for clients with poultry.

We have been made aware that following a number of recent cases of Avian Influenza within the UK, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed that an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone has been put in place.

Whilst this may only impact a small number of our clients, as a practice we want to draw your attention to the preventative action that is being taken so as we can all be aware, and do what we can to limit the spread of this disease.

As stated on the gov.uk 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 gov.uk 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.’

As detailed on the gov.uk website, the prevention zone means bird keepers across the country 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 prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of Defra’s work to monitor the threat of bird flu.

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.

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

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