Yesterday (11 Nov) an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared across the whole of England, Scotland and Wales following a small number of isolated cases being confirmed in the South of England. The introduction of a prevention zone follows a decision to raise the risk level for avian influenza incursion in wild Birds in Great Britain from ‘medium’ to ‘high’ last week.
For now there’s no evidence of the virus in the North of England and the new prevention zone has been declared with the aim of reducing the risk of cases arising in other areas. The protection zone rules mean that all poultry keepers, whether they are running a large commercial farm, keeping a few hens in their back garden or allotment, or rearing game birds, should be strengthening their biosecurity measures.
If you keep birds there are some simple steps you should take to protect your birds against the threat of avian flu in the coming winter months:
- Restrict access for non-essential people if you keep more than 500 birds.
- 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 our work to monitor the threat of bird flu. You can keep up to date with the latest outbreak assessments on the government website.
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 the governments avian flu advice.