Avian influenza prevention zone declared across Great Britain

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Following a number of detections of avian influenza in wild birds across Great Britain, the Chief Veterinary Officers from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the whole of Great Britain to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds.

This means that from last Wednesday, November 3rd, it became a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Great Britain to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their birds.

The AIPZ now in force does not include a requirement to house birds. However, this is being kept under constant review. With the increased risk of avian influenza during the winter, the need to include a mandatory housing requirement in the AIPZ may arise. Further disease control measures will be based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice.

The risk of incursion of highly pathogenic (HPAI) avian influenza H5 in wild birds has increased from medium (event occurs regularly) to high (event occurs often) for wild birds.

The risk of poultry and captive bird exposure to HPAI H5 across Great Britain has increased from low (with medium uncertainty) to medium (with medium uncertainty) where biosecurity on premises is below the required standard. Where stringent biosecurity measures are in place, the risk has increased from low (with low uncertainty) to low (with medium uncertainty).

Further details on the evidence which supported these decisions can be found in Defra and the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) risk assessments available on GOV.UK