Battle against avian flu continues

Defra has extended the avian influenza prevention zone that has been in place since 6th December until 28 February to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu.

The zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

It covers England and similar declarations have been made in Scotland and Wales. There is also a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

Poultry keepers must also practice good biosecurity to minimise the risk of infection spreading via items such as feed, clothing or equipment.

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: “Anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.

“Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn’t possible owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.

“Even when birds are kept indoors a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good biosecurity, for example by disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds.”

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