To help protect poultry from avian flu, the Prevention Zone that was put in place on 6 December for 30 days, has now been extended to 28 February.
The Prevention Zone was initially put in place after some birds and poultry tested positive for avian Flu in mainland Europe. Since then an outbreak was confirmed in turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire on 16 December, and this week another case was confirmed in a back yard flock in Carmarthenshire. In both cases a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone were put in place around the infected premises.
The disease has also been found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales and whilst stringent bio-security measures are put in place; it is crucial that those in the countryside remain vigilant and report any suspected cases. There are currently no restrictions on shooting activities and shoots can continue as normal, however the GWCT advises that:
• Shoots near the areas that have confirmed cases should practice extra vigilance
• Keepers of captive gamebirds (e.g. overwintering breeding flocks) must minimize the risk of contact with wild birds where indoor housing is not practicable
• Be vigilant and look out for signs of sickness/disease/dead birds (captive, free living and wild birds) and report any concerns to the Defra Helpline – 03459 33 55 77
• Ensure that captive flocks of 50 or more birds (chickens, ducks, partridges, pheasants etc) are registered with Defra
• Ensure high levels of biosecurity
Public Health England advises that the threat to human health remains very low.
Avian influenza – what is it and how is it spread?
Bird flu, or avian flu, is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among birds. The disease spreads from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces. Avian influenza isn’t an airborne disease nor is there evidence that any recent strain of avian influenza has been able to spread directly between people.
For more information:
Defra ‘Biosecurity and preventing disease in poultry and captive birds within a Prevention Zone’ 7 December 2016