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Avian Influenza

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Avian Influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of many species of birds.

Latest situation - Case in Settle, near Skipton, January 2017

On 6 January 2017, a case of avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed in a backyard flock of chickens and ducks in Settle, near Skipton.  A Protection Zone of 3km and a Surveillance Zone of 10km have been put in place around the infected premises and specific restrictions are in place. For more detail, an interactive map and the formal declaration can be found at gov.uk (external links). 

Latest situation - Case near Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire, January 2017

The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales has confirmed Avian Influenza H5N8 in a back yard flock of chickens and ducks on a premises near Pontyberem, Carmarthenshire. 

Prior to confirmation it was decided to cull the birds on strong suspicion of disease.

A 3 km Protection Zone (PZ) and 10 km Surveillance Zone (SZ) have been put in place around the infected premises, to limit the risk of the disease spreading and as part of the wider surveillance and disease control measures.

The Declaration is provided below, which sets out the measures to be adhered to within the Zones. The interactive map (external link) will help you find out if you live within any restriction zones, and will continue to be updated to reflect the current position. 

General and Specific Licences

General licences allow a movement or activity that would otherwise be prohibited within the Zones. Provided you meet and comply with the conditions, you can rely on the general licence as providing authority for the movement or activity. Where general licences are available, these can be found at gov.uk (external link), and include:

  • movement of samples for salmonella testing from the PZ or SZ - general licence EXD 314(AI)
  • movement of table eggs within or out of the PZ or SZ – general licence EXD 243(AI)(E)
  • movement of poultry carcases off premises in PZ EXD339(AI)(E)
  • movement of poultry litter, manure or slurry off premises in PZ or SZ EXD353(AI)(E). 
See gov.uk (external link) for specific licences currently available.

Specific licences must be applied for and obtained from APHA. If a licence is issued, it will allow a one-off movement and be subject to certain conditions based on disease control risk.

The form is in a word format (go to gov.uk (external link), and scroll down to Specific Licences to download); it can be filled in electronically and emailed to outbreak.licensing@apha.gsi.gov.uk.

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Extended to 28 February

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone declared by the Welsh Ministers on 6 December 2016 will remain in place until 28 February 2017. The zone covers the whole of Wales and a copy of the declaration is available below. This means extra biosecurity measures for all poultry and captive birds to protect them from the risk from wild birds.

The zone requires the immediate and compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks, or where this is not practical, their complete separation from contact with wild birds. For farmed geese, gamebirds and other captive birds, keepers should take practical steps to keep these birds separate from wild birds.

AI is a disease of birds. Humans can become infected but rarely are. There are many strains of AI viruses which vary in their ability to cause disease. AI viruses are categorised according to their ability to cause severe disease in bird species.  There are:

  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) viruses (HPAI)
  • Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) viruses.

Some strains of HPAI can spread easily and quickly between birds in poultry populations and cause severe disease, with a high death rate.

A risk to the global human population may be posed by a new influenza virus that significantly differs from recent or existing strains of human influenza viruses. Therefore, any outbreak of AI must be controlled quickly. Anyone that works in close contact with infected birds must be well protected. Contingency plans are in place to ensure this can be achieved.

It is vital that all bird keepers continue to practice the highest levels of biosecurity and be vigilant for any signs of disease. If you are concerned about the health of your birds you should seek advice from your veterinary surgeon. If you suspect that your birds have AI, you should report it to your local Animal and Plant Health Agency office.

Gatherings of Poultry Suspended

A Risk Assessment on the likelihood of spread of avian notifiable disease associated with bird gatherings has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

In consideration of the assessment, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths has announced a further precautionary measure with the introduction of a temporary suspension on gatherings of some species of birds in Wales. 

The ban on gatherings applies to poultry, including chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, and restricts events such as fairs, markets, shows, sales or exhibitions. Similar bans have been introduced in England and Scotland, ensuring a consistent GB approach. 

The ban does not apply to pigeons or aviary birds which present a much lower risk of passing the disease to domestic poultry. These arrangements will be kept under review and may be lifted or amended if the risk level changes.

The General Licence for bird gatherings has been amended to reflect this. Keepers of Poultry and other captive birds should familiarise themselves with the new licence which is available on the Bird gatherings and advice page.  

Latest situation - Case in Lincolnshire, December 2016

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) of the strain H5N8 has been confirmed in turkeys on a poultry farm near Louth in Lincolnshire.

The latest situation can be found on gov.uk (external link).