Avian Influenza 2021-2022

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Avian Influenza is something that affects birds all throughout the UK. This disease can sometimes, although very rarely, be passed onto humans. Below are some signs of the disease in the birds, and what to do if you suspect a bird may be carrying this disease. 

 

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or HPAI as it is known, was first confirmed back in 2021. The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone came into effect across Great Britain on the 3rd November 2021, this was extended to include housing measures across the UK on the 29th Novemeber 2021 to ensure captive birds as well as outdoor birds were also safe. The flu was confirmed in 2022 in captive birds at a premises on the 2nd January in Eton, Windsor and Maidenhead, then again on 3rd January 2022, it was confirmed to be in Lincolnshire. 

                                                

It is vital that if you have got any birds whether that is commerical birds, pet birds or even backyard birds, to keep these indoors to limit the spread of the disease. The risk of exposure to the avian flu has gone from medium to high where there has been poor biosecurity. All bird keepers are encouraged to maintain high standards and good practice for the health of their birds. 

 

 

There are currently 62 cases of Avian Influenza in England, 1 case in Wales and 2 in Scotland. Both cases (Wales and Scotland) have extended over into England making the risk even higher. The Animal and Plant Health Agency carry out year-round serveillances of any deaths in the wild birds via public reports and warden reports regarding the Avian Flu. There have been multiple findings of HPAI in wild birds from sites all across Great Britain. 

From 29th Novemeber 2021 every bird keeper is required by law to take precautions including keeping their birds indoors expect in very specific circumstances. It is encouraged for all bird keepers to register their birds so that they can be contacted quickly when there is an outbreak in their local area. 

Register your birds here Poultry (including game birds): registration rules and forms - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

 

 

Signs of Avian Influenza in Birds

  • Swollen head
  • Closed and excessively watery eyes
  • Lethargic 
  • Twisting of the head and neck
  • Discoloured or loose watery droppings
  • Loss of appetite or large in decrease in food consumption 
  • Head and body tremors 
  • Sudden loss or increase in water intake. 

 

If you notice these in your birds then you must report it immediately and call the Defra Rural Services Helpline - 03000 200 301. 

 

DO NOT pick up any poultry that has either died or you suspect is suffering from this disease, as although very unlikely, you may also catch it. 

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