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The risk to your poultry and kept birds.

First published:
6 December 2018
Last updated:

UK free of Avian Influenza

On 15 June, 2020, the UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) declared to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that the UK is free from Avian Influenza (AI). 

DEFRA press notice.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus

The risk of HPAI virus (bird flu) increases during the winter. We have identified that migratory waterfowl and gulls are the most likely cause of this.  (Migratory wildfowl include ducks, geese and swans.) This is based on experience over the last two winters, coupled with scientific and veterinary opinion.

Higher Risk Areas (HRAs)

These birds pose a threat that they could introduce this virus into premises where poultry, game birds, pet or other captive birds are kept. This could be through direct contact, or indirect contact. We have identified areas of GB which are at increased risk of the introduction of the HPAI virus into poultry and kept birds from wild waterfowl. We refer to these as 'Higher Risk Areas' (HRAs).

You should note that, although these areas are at increased risk, all poultry remains at risk from wild birds. Including:

  • game birds
  • poultry kept as pets

What measures will be required in a HRA

We will use HRAs to:

  • target wild bird and statutory surveillance programmes
  • highlight the areas of GB at greatest risk of bird flu being present in wild birds

We may consider extra biosecurity through the declaration of an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ). The declaration of such a zone would be risk-based.

Mandatory housing of free range birds would not necessarily be introduced in HRAs alone. Any decision to house birds anywhere in GB would be according to risk considerations.

If you are planning a new poultry unit you should take into account the risk of HPAI in that area.

What should I do if I keep poultry or captive birds

If you keep poultry, including game birds, pet or other captive birds anywhere in GB, you should review your biosecurity. This is particularly important if you are in or close to a higher risk area. We encourage all keepers to follow our biosecurity advice. It offers best practice, whether you have commercial flocks, smaller flocks, game birds, or pet birds.

Is my holding in/near a higher Risk Area

You are considered to be in an HRA if the whole or part of your premises falls within the HRA.

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone

No Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) is currently in place. This is being kept under constant review. We will use this page to tell you if an AIPZ is put in place by the Welsh Ministers. Any disease control measures applied will be based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice.

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