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15 June 2022, Bexhill-on-Sea
On 15 June 2022 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 was confirmed at a premises near Bexhill-on-Sea, Rother, East Sussex. A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone were put in place around the premises.
Following successful completion of disease control activities and surveillance within the disease control zones surrounding this premises, the 3km Protection Zone has ended, and the 10km Surveillance Zone was revoked on 26 July. Local movement restrictions have now been removed but the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) measures remain in place.
From 00:01 on Monday 7 November 2022, mandatory housing measures are due to come into force in all areas of England. The housing measures legally require all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow stringent biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the disease, regardless of type or size.
An AIPZ (Avian Influenza Prevention Zone) without housing measures remains in place across the whole of Wales and Scotland.
On 12 October 2022 regional housing measures came into force in parts of eastern England, following a number of detections of avian influenza in poultry and wild and captive birds across the region. Poultry and other captive birds must also be housed if the premises is within a Protection Zone declared around an infected premises.
On Monday 17 October 2022, Defra declared a nationwide AIPZ (Avian Influenza Prevention Zone) across Great Britain, making biosecurity measures for all bird keepers a legal requirement.
The risk levels are currently:
- Very high for wild birds
- High for poultry where biosecurity is suboptimal
- Medium for poultry with stringent biosecurity
More information on the current risk level can be found by visiting: GOV.UK | Avian influenza (bird flu): Risk level.
The latest information on avian influenza in wild birds can be found on: GOV.UK | Avian influenza (bird flu): Wild birds in the UK.
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 this case of avian influenza.
“I would urge all of our poultry members to continue to practise enhanced biosecurity at all times and to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their flock. I would also ask members of the public who keep birds such as chickens, geese and ducks to follow Defra’s biosecurity advice. All bird keepers have an important part to play in reducing the risk of avian influenza, not only to their own birds but also to the commercial poultry sector.
“It is worth reminding people that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has also made it clear that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.”
The UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said:
“As we move into the higher risk period over winter, bird keepers should pay extra attention to the health of their birds. Anybody who suspects disease should report it to their vet or the APHA immediately. The best way to tackle this disease is for poultry keepers to ensure that they have strong biosecurity measures in place.”
- Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.
- Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in their own birds to APHA on 03000 200 301 (England) or 0300 303 8268 (Wales).
- Bird keepers should also familiarise themselves with the government’s avian influenza advice.