Declared area in Scotland and across Great Britain
Following an increase in the number of cases of avian influenza (avian influenza) detected in wild and other captive birds, senior veterinary officers from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain to mitigate the risks. Spread of disease among poultry and other captive birds.
This means that from 12:00 noon on Monday 17 OctoberIt would be a legal requirement for all bird breeders in Great Britain to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the threat of bird flu.
The introduction of AIPZ comes after the UK faced its largest ever outbreak of bird flu with more than 190 confirmed cases across the UK since late October 2021, with more than 40 confirmed cases since the beginning of this month. The east of England has been particularly hard hit by cases of infestation of domestic fowl and other captive birds. There have also been cases in the southwest and discoveries in wild birds at multiple locations throughout Great Britain.
Avian influenza is naturally spread in wild birds and when they migrate to the UK from mainland Europe during the winter they can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds. Maintaining strict biosecurity is the most effective way to protect birds from the virus.
Breeders with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access to non-essential people to their sites, workers will need to change clothes and shoes before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to reduce the risk of disease spreading. Backyard owners who have smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks, and geese should take steps to reduce the risk of spreading disease to their animals.
Public Health Scotland advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and Food Standards Scotland advises that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products are safe to eat, including eggs.
In a joint statement, the chief veterinarian for England, Scotland and Wales said:
Bird keepers have faced the biggest outbreak of bird flu ever this year, and with winter bringing more risks to flocks as migratory birds return to the UK.
“Biosecurity and hygiene measures are the best form of defence, which is why we have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain, which means that all bird keepers must take action to help prevent the disease from spreading to more birds. Poultry and other poultry.
“Introducing AIPZ means that regardless of whether you keep a few birds or thousands, you are legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements to protect birds from this highly contagious disease.”
The introduction of AIPZ follows a decision to raise the risk of avian influenza incursion into wild birds in Great Britain from “medium” to “high”. For poultry and other captive birds, the risk level has been raised from ‘medium’ to ‘high’ in places where biosecurity is below required standards, and from ‘low’ to ‘medium’ where strict biosecurity measures are in place.
AIPZ is building nationwide on additional biosecurity measures introduced last week as part of a regional housing order covering Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex. The AIPZ Act, now in force throughout Great Britain, does not include a national requirement to house birds. However, this is under constant review.
There has been a long avian flu season this year and with the risks now increasing through the winter season, the need to include mandatory housing requirements in the AIPZ may arise. Other disease control measures will be based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice.
AIPZ means a must for bird breeders throughout Great Britain:
- Keep bird-free birds within fenced areas, and ponds, streams, and permanent standing water (except in certain circumstances, such as zoo birds) should be fenced off.
- cleaning and disinfecting shoes and keeping the areas where birds live clean and tidy;
- reduce movement in and out of bird enclosures;
- Reduce any existing contamination by disinfecting and sterilizing concrete areas and fencing wet or swampy areas
- Keep domesticated ducks and geese away from other domestic birds.
- Ensure that areas where birds are raised are not attractive to wild birds, for example by net ponds and the removal of food sources for wild birds;
- Feed and water birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
Moderators should see our advice on bird flu at www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza and report suspected illness in your area. APHA Field Service Office.
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone will be in place until further notice and will remain under regular review as part of the Government’s work to monitor and manage avian influenza risks.
Dead wild birds can become infected, so do not touch them unless you are wearing appropriate protective clothing. When publicly owned land is found, the local authority will consider on a case-by-case basis the removal of the bodies.
Poultry keepers and members of the public should refer to our most recent guidance to check the latest threshold for reporting dead wild birds to the Defra National Helpline at GB at 03459 33 55 77 and must not be touched or picked up.
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