Thursday, January 18, 2018

UK: DEFRA Expands Bird Flu Prevention Zone As More Infected Birds Are Found


Just over a week after 17 dead birds were discovered in Dorset (see UK: DEFRA Announcement On H5N6 In 17 Wild Birds In Dorset), the UK's DEFRA today has announced the discovery of 13 dead birds in Warwickshire, nearly 200 km to the north.

We also learn today that the total number of birds found infected in Dorset has risen to 31. As a result, DEFRA announced that the entire nation is now declared a bird flu prevention zone.
— News story

Bird flu prevention zone extended to cover whole of England

Legal requirement for all bird keepers in England to follow strict biosecurity measures.
A bird flu prevention zone has been declared across the whole of England, Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens has confirmed today.

This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. It comes as 13 dead wild birds were confirmed to have the virus in Warwickshire.

Last week 17 wild birds tested positive in Dorset and a total of 31 infected birds have now been identified at that site. Defra took swift action to put a local prevention zone in the area on Friday (12 January). However, as these latest results show the disease is not isolated to a single site the decision has been taken to extend the prevention zone across the country on a precautionary basis.

Testing of the birds found in Warwickshire is ongoing, however, it is highly expected that this will be the same H5N6 strain of the virus which has been circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months. Public Health England have advised the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency have said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
        (Continue . . . .)

The UK has joined The Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland in reporting this recently arrived H5N6 (reassorted from last year's H5N8 epizootic) virus, along with similar reassorted H5N6 viruses reported in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Three days ago DEFRA released a detailed Rapid Risk Assessment On H5N6 In Wild Birds In Dorset which drew comparisons to this year's relatively slow spread of H5N6 (at least compared to H5N8 during the winter of 2016-17) to H5N8's subdued first appearance in Europe four winters ago.

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