UK declares avian influenza prevention zone

31-08 | |
UK declares avian influenza prevention zone

To mitigate the risk of further outbreaks of bird flu following several detections of the disease in poultry and wild and captive birds across Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset, an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the region has been declared.

From midday on 31 August, it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Devon, Cornwall (including the Isles of Scilly) and parts of Somerset to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks, of whatever type or size. The AIPZ does not include a requirement to house birds; however, this is being kept under constant review.

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to introduce higher biosecurity standards on your farm or small holding.” – UK’s deputy chief veterinary officer, Richard Irvine

Backyard owners with small numbers of poultry, including chickens, ducks and geese, must take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals. Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites. In addition, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures, and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Largest ever outbreak of bird flu

According to the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the UK has faced its largest ever outbreak of bird flu with over 130 cases confirmed across the country since late October. The introduction of this regional AIPZ comes after the disease was detected in captive birds at 9 premises across the south-west region since July, as well as several cases in wild seabirds.

The prevention zone will be in place until further notice.

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist