Highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu has been detected in wild birds in Warwickshire.
This is the second confirmed finding of the virus in the UK this winter, following the finding in Dorset earlier this month (January 2018). Tests have shown both cases are closely related to the H6N6 strain circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months.
This is different to the H5N6 strain which affected people in China last year and Public Health England have advised the risk to public health is very low. The Food Standards Agency have also offered reassurance that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
A National Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared for the whole of England.
This means it is mandatory for all captive bird keepers in England to put enhanced biosecurity measures in place. Further information can be found on GOV.UK. This Zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.
It is vital that anyone who keeps birds, whether a few in a back garden or thousands on a commercial unit is vigilant. All poultry keepers should:
Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 0345 933 5577 and bird keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 0300 020 0301.
In Scotland, you should contact your local APHA office.
Further avian influenza advice, including how to spot the disease, is available:-
· In England at www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-
(All information courtesy of the Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA)