The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Professor Christianne Glossop has confirmed the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 infection on two separate commercial premises in Powys - one near Newtown and one near Welshpool.
Both premises have pheasants on site.
A 3km Protection Zone, 10km Surveillance Zone, and 10km Restricted Zone have been declared around each of the two infected premises, to limit the risk of disease spread.
Within these zones, bird movements and gatherings are restricted and all poultry holdings must be declared. The measures are stricter in the 3km Protection Zone. Full information is available here.
The autumn and winter of 2021/2022 has seen an unprecedented incursion of avian influenza into Europe and these cases take the number of cases in poultry and other captive birds in Wales to five, in total.
The measures in the Protection, Surveillance and Restricted Zones are in addition to biosecurity and housing requirements, introduced in November 2021 as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ), which apply to all of Wales and GB. The AIPZ mandates strict biosecurity measures to stop avian influenza virus carried by wild birds from coming into contact with kept birds, through housing or netting birds to reduce the risk of direct spread and requiring enhanced biosecurity measures on site.
The risk to the general public’s health from avian influenza is very low. The Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.
The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Professor Christianne Glossop, said:
These cases of avian influenza in Wales are a cause for concern, and evidence the risk to our birds has not diminished.
Keepers of birds must be vigilant and ensure they have the very highest levels of biosecurity in place. There is always more that can be done to protect your birds.
I urge everyone to leave no stone unturned. Once again review all the measures in place and identify any areas for improvement. Think about risks from direct contact with wild birds, especially waterfowl and also anything that could be contaminated by bird droppings – clothing and footwear, equipment, vehicles, feed and bedding. Make improvements where you can to prevent further spread of this devastating disease within our domestic bird population.
Housing measures are in force to protect poultry and kept birds, but housing is only effective when combined with implementation of the most stringent biosecurity measures.
Suspicion of avian influenza or any other notifiable disease must be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency immediately.
Members of the public are encouraged to report any dead birds they encounter. These may be collected for examination and avian influenza surveillance, depending on the species and location.
It is important not to pick up or touch any sick or dead bird. Report to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.
Further information on how to report and dispose dead wild birds can be found at: https://gov.wales/report-and-dispose-dead-birds
An interactive map of avian influenza disease control zones currently in place across GB can be found here.
Responsibilities of people who keep birds
- All keepers of kept birds should be vigilant for signs of the disease such as increased mortality, respiratory distress and drops in food or water intake, or egg production.
- Consult your veterinary surgeon in the first instance if your birds are unwell.
- If you or your vet suspect that avian influenza could be causing illness in your birds, you must, by law, report this to the Animal and Plant Health Agency. This will trigger a disease investigation by APHA vets.
- You must house poultry, and keep them separate from waterfowl such as ducks and geese, both kept and wild.
- You must apply strict biosecurity measures to prevent any materials, equipment, vehicles, clothing, feed or bedding that could have been contaminated from wild birds coming onto your premises. Full details and checklist is available here: https://gov.wales/biosecurity-and-preventing-disease-captive-birds
Advice for the general public
- Wash, and if possible disinfect, footwear and hands before leaving places with large number of wildfowl – eg parks and bird reserves
- Report (but do not touch) dead birds
- Continue to feed garden birds, taking basic hygiene precautions such as washing hands after touching feeding stations, and keeping them clean.