- Beware Storm Eunice could worsen the spread of avian influenza! We’ve been experiencing some wet and windy weather this week in the UK and there is worse to come with Storm Eunice arriving on Friday.
- Flood water and rain water can expose poultry and other captive birds to avian influenza if it washes contamination from roofs or the surrounding environment into your birds housing or areas where their bedding etc are stored so it’s vital that you check your birds’ housing and surrounding areas.
- Take preventative measures to protect your birds: Check bird house roofs and strengthen any weak areas, ensure drains, gutters and ditches are clear and any tarpaulins used to cover housing areas are well secured to prevent them from blowing away in the strong winds.
- On-going maintenance is essential to maintain biosecurity: Double check birds housing and the surrounding areas for any damage, block drainage caused by the storm, cleanse and disinfect any hard standings, footwear etc using a government approved disinfectant that may have been expose to flood water
- Wild birds may have move to different areas to avoid adverse weather protect your poultry and other captive birds make your entire premises unattractive to wild birds. Check the weather has not damaged and continue to use bird scarers, foils or streamers.
- Turbulent weather can churn up silt underwater in ponds and reservoirs, where the virus has been shown to lie dormant for several weeks, resurfacing environmental contamination from infected wild birds As a result, wild waterfowl could become infected and spread the virus. Keep your birds housed and away from both direct and indirect contact with wild birds.
- For further biosecurity advice see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#biosecurity
Case Updates England
- Following successful completion of disease control activities and surveillance within the zones, the 3km Protection Zones declared surrounding the following premises have ended and the areas merged with the relevant 10km Surveillance Zone. A 10km Surveillance Zone remains in force surrounding these premises.
- near Middleton-in-Teesdale, County Durham, Durham (effective from 13:30 on the 17 February 2022)
- near Poulton le Fylde, Wyre, Lancashire (effective from 15:00 on the 17 February 2022)
Keepers can check where disease control zones are located in GB and if they are in zone on the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) interactive map, and in Northern Ireland on DAERA’s interactive map.
For further information on these cases and details of the measures that apply in the disease control zones currently in force see:
England: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu-cases-and-disease-control-zones-in-england This is particularly important given there are multiple overlapping zones.
Northern Ireland: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/avian-influenza-ai
To receive immediate notification of new cases and updated zones in GB please sign up to the APHA’s Animal Disease alert subscription service further details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apha-alert-subscription-service
Outbreak Case Summary
In summary, since the first case confirmed in this outbreak on the 26 October 2021, 93 cases of avian influenza have been confirmed in the UK:
- England: 78 cases of HPAI H5N1
- Scotland: 6 cases of HPAI H5N1
- Wales: 3 cases of HPAI H5N1
- Northern Ireland: 6 cases of HPAI H5N1
This is now the largest ever UK outbreak of avian influenza (prior to this the largest number of cases was 26 cases in 2020/2021 and 13 cases in 2016/2017).
Bird keepers are reminded that an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) including housing measures is in force across the UK. See gov.uk/bird-flu for further information.
High standards of biosecurity must be maintained as good practice for the health of your bird. Good biosecurity is an essential defence against diseases such as avian influenza and is key to limiting the spread of avian influenza in an outbreak.
Keepers must keep a close watch on their birds for any signs of disease, and seek prompt advice from a vet if they have any concerns. Clinical signs indicative of avian influenza must be reported in England to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact to the local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.