Avian influenza cases confirmed across England: Latest news

Avian Influenza restriction sign_40088

On the 1 December 2020, following suspicion of avian influenza and pending further testing at a premises near Northallerton, Hambleton, North Yorkshire, a 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone (shown on the map below) has been put in place. Further information on the measures that apply in the TCZ can be found in the declaration here. 

Northallerton TCZ 1 December 2020 avian influenza TCZ map_75948

On the 28 November 2020 Avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed in rearing turkeys at a premises near Northallerton, Hambleton, North Yorkshire. On the 29 November 2020 further testing confirmed this to be a high pathogenic strain (HPAI H5N8). All birds on the infected premises will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease.

A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone (shown on the map below) have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. These zones replace the Temporary Control Zones put in place on the 28 November 2020.

The latest information on confirmed cases and restrictions can be found on the Defra Avian Influenza page.

Northallerton 29 Nov Avian Influenza PZ/SZ map_75913

You can check if you are in a zone under restriction by using the APHA’s interactive map.

On the 21 November Avian Influenza H5N8 was confirmed in poultry and captive birds at a premises near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. This was later confirmed as HPAI and a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the premises (shown on the map below). 

Leicestershire Avian Influenza 2020 Zones_75800

On 19 November, H5N8 avian influenza was confirmed in captive birds at a non-poultry premises near Stroud in Gloucestershire. This was later confirmed as HPAI and a 3km Captive Bird (Monitoring) Controlled Zone has been put in place around the site. Licenses for the movement of poultry and poultry products are not required within the 3km Captive Bird (Monitoring) Controlled Zone however biosecurity measures do apply and further details can be found here.

Gloucestershire Avian Influenza 2020 Zones_75801

On 10 November, highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza was confirmed on a broiler breeder farm near Leominster in Herefordshire. Defra has announced a cull of all birds on site, and declared a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone around the infected premises. The news followed confirmed cases of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza in wild birds in several counties across England. The latest report on highly pathogenic Avian Influenza in wild birds in Great Britain can be found here.

Within the Protection and Surveillance Zones, different controls are in place to prevent the spread of disease. These include restrictions on the movement of poultry and captive birds, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure. Poultry keepers in the Protection and Surveillance Zones can now apply for movement licences for some specific movements from or into the Zone. There are also restrictions on bird gatherings (fairs, shows, exhibitions) and the release of game birds.

On 11 November 2020 a nationwide Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was announced for England, Wales, and Scotland. 

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said:

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”

AI Zones near Leominster 12 November 2020

Risk level 

On 6 November 2020 the risk level of avian influenza incursion in wild birds in Great Britain was raised from 'medium' to 'high', and in poultry from 'low' to 'medium' following two unrelated confirmed cases in the UK, and increasing reports of the disease in the Netherlands and Germany. Northern Ireland’s risk of avian influenza incursion remains 'medium' for wild birds and 'low' for poultry, but is being kept under constant review. 

A statement from the UK’s four Chief Veterinary Officers said:

“We have acted quickly to prevent the spread of disease at both sites in England and are continuing to monitor the situation closely. Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they implement heightened biosecurity measures on their premises. 

“It is important now more than ever that bird keepers ensure they are doing all they can to maintain and strengthen good biosecurity on their premises to ensure we prevent further outbreaks.” 

Biosecurity measures

There are some simple measures that all poultry keepers, whether they are running a large commercial farm, keeping a few hens in their back garden, or rearing game birds, should take to protect their birds against the threat of avian flu in the coming winter months. 

These include: 

  • Keeping the area where birds live clean and tidy, controlling rats and mice and regularly cleansing and disinfecting any hard surfaces; 
  • Cleaning footwear before and after visits;
  • Placing birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and removing any spilled feed regularly; 
  • Putting fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limiting their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl;
  • Where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species. 

Where can I get further information?

    On 2 November 2020 highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 was identified on a commercial broiler breeder rearing site near Frodsham, Cheshire. Testing has now confirmed it is a highly pathogenic strain related to the H5N8 cases reported in Europe in October. The flock of approximately 13,000 birds has been culled and a 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises. Click here for an explanation of this at the Gov.uk website.

    You can check if you are in a Protection or Surveillance Zone by using the APHA’s interactive map.

    Avian Influenza Cheshire Surveillance Zone 27 Nov 2020_75911

    Confirmation of the outbreak in Cheshire followed an unrelated case of low pathogenic H5N2 confirmed in a poultry flock near Deal, in Kent on 2 November. The flock of 480 birds has been culled and a 1km Restricted Zone has been put in place around the infected premise which has imposed control measures, explained here

    NFU chief poultry adviser Aimee Mahony said:

    “The NFU remains in close dialogue with both Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency on this issue and we are working to support any members affected by these cases of avian influenza.

    “In light of the new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone introduced by Defra, I would urge all poultry keepers, including members of the public with pet birds, a backyard flock or smallholding, to continue practising enhanced biosecurity at all times. It’s crucial everyone remains vigilant and reports any signs of disease in their birds at the earliest opportunity.

    “The risk to public health from this virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has also made it clear that it does not pose a food safety risk.”

    Available support

    In these uncertain and often challenging times it is more important than ever to look after our own and others’ mental health.

    If you or anyone you know are experiencing anxiety or stress then help and support is available nationally via the Farming Community Network (FCN) and Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) websites.

    The Prince’s Countryside Fund has also published a directory of local farm and rural support groups.

    More information:

    NFU App promotion_75139

    © 2020 - NFUonline