UK sets up bird flu prevention zone across whole country after the disease was detected in wild birds – but health agencies say the risk to the public is ‘very low’

  • The Avian Influenza Prevention Area (AIPZ), was implemented in the UK today at 5pm
  • Bird keepers will need to restrict access to their sites for non-essential persons
  •  Workers need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures

After several cases of bird flu in wild and captive birds from England, Wales, and Scotland were reported, a zone of prevention has been established throughout the country.  

After H5N1 was found in poultry at multiple sites across the UK and avian flu (H5N1) was confirmed in birds, both farmkeepers and bird keepers were notified to increase their biosecurity.   

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ), which was enforced from Keepers will be seen at 5pm today Sites housing more than 500 birds must restrict access to non-essential persons.

Workers will need to change their clothing and footwear before they can enter bird enclosures. Site vehicles will also need cleaning and disinfection regularly to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to the UK health agencies, the The virus poses a very low risk to the public’s health. The avian flus is also a very low food safety risk to UK consumers.    

It comes as a flock of poultry that tested positive for avian influenza were culled in Angus, Scotland, today.

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) will see keepers with more than 500 birds have to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites. (Stock image)

Keepers of more than 500 birds will be required to limit access to their sites by the Avian Influenza Prevention zone (AIPZ). (Stock photo)

Avian influenza is a natural infection in wild birds. They can spread the disease to other birds to the UK if they migrate from mainland Europe during the winter. 

According to the UK health agencies, the The virus poses very little risk to the public health. The UK food standards agency advises that avian flues pose very low risk to food safety for UK consumers.  

Food standards bodies have advised that avian flu is also a low risk food safety issue for UK consumers. Also, cooked poultry products such as eggs are safe to consume. 

The Chief Veterinary Officers of England, Scotland, and Wales jointly stated that they had declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Area across Great Britain after a number of cases of avian flu in wild birds.

This means that all bird owners must act immediately to prevent the disease from spreading to other domestic birds and poultry.

“Regardless of whether you have a few birds or thousands of birds, you are legally required to establish higher biosecurity standards for your farm or small holding. It is in your best interests to do this to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

“The UK’s health agencies have confirmed that there is little risk to public safety and UK food standards authorities have stated that bird flu poses very low food safety risks for UK consumers.   

The Scottish Government confirmed earlier today that a flock of birds that tested positive for Avian Influenza (H5N1) was culled. 

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government stated that appropriate restrictions had been placed on the premises in order to limit the spread of disease.

Today the Scottish Government confirmed a flock of poultry that tested positive for avian influenza (H5N1) in Angus had been culled. (Stock image)

Today, the Scottish Government confirmed that a flock of birds that tested positive for avian flu (H5N1) was culled. (Stock photo)

“The remaining birds will be humanely shot and temporary control zones, measuring three-kilometres and 10 kilometers, have been established around infected buildings to reduce the risk of contracting this disease.

These zones have a range of controls. These include restrictions on the movement and use of poultry, carcasses, eggs, poultry litter, and manure.

Mairi Gogueon, Rural Affairs Secretary, stated that it was not unusual for avian flu to be detected in birds here due to recent confirmations in wild birds and in captivity birds in the UK.

“Temporary Control Zones have been set up around infected premises. We ask that the public remain vigilant, and report any wild birds found.

Sheila Voas (Scotland’s chief veterinary official) said that further tests are being conducted to determine the pathogenicity for avian influenza H5N1 among a flock of birds from the Angus constituency.

“We have made it clear that all bird keepers, whether they are large businesses or small keepers with a few birds, must ensure that their biosecurity is up-to-date to protect their birds against disease.

Keepers who are concerned for the welfare or health of their flock should immediately seek veterinary advice.

Private vets or the local Animal and Plant Health Agency will be able to offer practical advice on how to keep birds safe from infection.

Defra should be contacted if a single dead wild bird (swans, geese, or ducks), a single birds of prey, five or more dead wild bird species (including gulls), are found in the same area.

“Do not touch or pick-up any dead or visible sick birds.”