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Bird Flu Prevention Zone Across England & Wales

Thursday 08/02/2018

England’s chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens announced a bird flu prevention zone last month across the country after 13 dead wild birds were confirmed to have the virus and now the Queen's own flock of swans at Windsor have been affected, with the death toll rising daily.

The birds were found in Warwickshire, and a local prevention zone was set up on the 12th January. This has been extended to cover all of England until further notice. Tests on the dead birds are continuing, but the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said it was highly likely the animals had been infected by the H5N6 strain of the virus.

In Dorset, wild animals have also tested positive for bird flu, bringing the total to 31. The strain is a different variation of the H5N6 one that affected people in China last year.
Bird flu is carried by migrating waterfowl (wild ducks in the main), and it is suspected that they pass it to domestic birds.

The Aviation Influenza Prevention Zone makes it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. Wales has also followed suit as a preventative measure.

Bird flu is a viral infection that spreads from bird to bird. A particularly deadly strain is H5N1, which will kill most birds, and it’s deadly to humans and other mammals who catch it from birds. However, H5N6 poses only a low risk to humans. The Food Standards Agency does not view the current issue as a food safety risk.

Mr Gibben said: “Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements, and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious virus.”

If you keep birds – whether this is just a few birds in your garden or commercial flocks – under the prevention zone requirements you must now review your biosecurity. The birds should be registered with APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency), report any sick birds and sign up for disease alerts.

Also, bird keepers should:


  • Ensure the areas where they keep birds are made unattractive to wild birds, using netting or removing food sources for example

  • Feed and water their birds in areas that are enclosed

  • Minimise the movement in and out of enclosures

  • Clean and disinfect footwear, and keep bird living areas clean and tidy

  • Fence off wet and boggy areas; clean and sanitise concrete areas.


Click Here to read our guidelines on How to Get Biosecure in 3 Simple Steps

Or if you would like to discuss your requirements, please get in touch with us on 01903 538 488, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

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