Defra Issues Update on Bird Flu

Thursday 9th Mar 2017

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation is notifying its members that Defra has issued an update on avian influenza H5N8.

In summary, there have been:

  • Changes to the restriction zones where outbreaks are considered to be resolved, with these restriction zones now being lifted. Defra plans to make further changes to the existing zones in the near future.The NGO reminds its members to use Defra’s interactive map to check the boundaries of any restriction zone relevant to them.

  • New H5N8 wild bird findings detected. A kestrel was found dead near premises in Suffolk where bird flu was previously confirmed, and an infected wigeon was reported in Pembrokeshire.

  • In Europe, more than 900 outbreaks reported in commercial or backyard poultry, over 40 cases in captive birds and over a 1000 wild bird findings. As a result of the increase in positive findings in wild birds in Europe, Defra asks that the public uses its helpline (Tel: 03459 33 55 77) to report dead wild birds. Please report any wild ducks, wild geese, swans, gulls or birds of prey found dead and where more than five birds of any species are found dead in the same location.

The risk level for the UK is maintained at “high” for further cases in wild birds, and as “low to medium” for the introduction of infection to poultry [and gamebirds] on individual premises, "dependent", says Defra, “on the level of on-farm biosecurity”.

Defra reports that the widespread locations of positive wild bird findings suggest that the whole of the UK should be considered as a risk area for wild bird infection, but that areas with populations of waterfowl species may carry a greater risk proportionately in terms of risk level for poultry [and gamebird] premises.

Further Defra advice can be found by clicking here. Updated advice on biosecurity can be read by clicking here.

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation reminds members and all others with gamebirds that a revised version of the document Bird Flu and Gamebirds was published on 3 March by government and countryside and shooting organisations to reflect the new bird flu regulations that came into force on 28 February 2017 in England, Wales and Scotland. New regulations will be put in place in Northern Ireland on 17 March 2017.

This latest advice replaces the original document issued on 13 January 2017.

The updated information, which is endorsed by Defra, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments and collated by seven leading countryside and shooting organisations (BASC, CA, CLA, GFA, GWCT, NGO and SGA), can be downloaded here.

A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said: “Bird flu remains with us, so it is beholden upon everyone with gamebirds to read and abide by the latest advice, Bird Flu and Gamebirds, that was published on 3 March. The advice covers all parts of the UK, but it is essential that the contents are read as a whole because the advice varies, to some extent, in each of the home countries. Keep checking our website and social media for updates and remain alert to the possibility of infection in your birds.”


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