Animal welfare

2. Avian influenza (Bird flu)

Avian Influenza is a contagious disease of birds caused by the Influenza A virus.

The virus generally affects birds but pigs and humans can also become infected. There are 15 sub-types of the virus but the H5N1 strain poses the greatest threat to humans.

The disease has only passed to humans who are living or working in close physical contact with live, infected birds.

New measures to protect poultry against Avian Flu

From Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Animal and Plant Health Agency: first published: 6 December 2016

The Chief Veterinary Officer has declared an Avian Influenza prevention zone (PDF 157Kb). This is to help protect poultry from a strain of Avian Flu in Europe. Full details can be found on the GOV UK website

This Prevention Zone introduces mandatory enhanced biosecurity measures. It requires the immediate and compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks. Where this is not practical, they must be kept completely separate from contact with wild birds.

For captive birds, keepers should take practical steps to keep these birds separate from wild birds. The zone covers England and will remain in place for 30 days.

Outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8) have been confirmed in poultry and wild birds in several countries across Europe. No cases of H5N8 have been found in the UK. This order is a precautionary measure to help prevent potential infection from wild birds.

Public Health England advises that the threat to human health remains very low. Defra is continuing to monitor the situation closely. It has increased its surveillance activity, while keepers are being urged to reinforce biosecurity measures on their premises.’

For more information visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website.