Although the British press has been writing extensively about suspected bird flu among the `Queen's swans' at Windsor, there has been considerably more H5N6 detected across the UK since the start of 2018.
APHA (Animal & Plant Health Agency) - an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the Welsh Government and The Scottish Government - published an updated list yesterday.
The most recent update from DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) - issued on Feb 5th - reads:
Avian influenza (bird flu), a disease of birds, has been identified in wild birds in England in 2018. All poultry keepers should review their biosecurity, sign up for disease alerts, and register their birds with APHA. Keepers must report any unexplained deaths or sickness to their vet.
Public Health England advises the risk to public health from H5N8 and H5N6 avian influenza is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said the disease poses no food safety risk for UK consumers.
To-date there have been no detections in poultry or kept birds in the UK, therefore the UK’s OIE country freedom for Avian Influenza remains unaffected.
Current situationOn 18 January 2018, Defra introduced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in England. This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.
This was introduced after H5N6 bird flu was identified in wild birds in two separate locations - South Dorset (confirmed on 12 January) and Warwickshire (confirmed on 18 January).
The new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone applies to everyone who keeps poultry or captive birds in England. All keepers must follow our detailed legal requirements on strict biosecurity, whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock.
View our best practice biosecurity advice.
The latest veterinary outbreak assessment on Avian Influenza in the UK and Europe, which includes the current level of risk to poultry in the UK, is available here.
UK Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said:(Continue . . . .)
We are continuing to see cases of bird flu in wild birds across the country which is why, if you keep birds, it is absolutely essential that you do all you can to protect them and help prevent the spread of the disease.On 25 January 2018, a similar Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was introduced in Wales.
Enhanced biosecurity is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers in England and Wales and you should report any suspicions of disease in your birds to Defra on 03459 33 55 77.