Avian flu found in poultry on site in Anglesey | Bird flu

Bird flu has been identified in poultry at a site in Anglesey, the Welsh Government said on Sunday.

The presence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed by Wales’ interim chief veterinary officer, Gavin Watkins, at the scene. It is the first confirmed case of bird flu in Wales since 1 October.

UK health authorities have said the risk to public health from the virus is very low, and Food Standards Agency has said bird flu poses a very low food safety risk.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been declared around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading, the Welsh Government said.

It added that bird movements and gatherings are restricted within these zones and all holdings that keep birds must be declared.

Bird keepers have been urged to be vigilant and ensure they have high levels of biosecurity in place. Farmers are advised to consult a vet in the first instance if birds become unwell, and if bird flu is suspected, it must be legally reported to Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Earlier this week, mandatory housing measures for all captive poultry and birds were introduced in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex following a decision by Britain’s chief veterinary officer.

There has been a significant increase in bird flu cases in the East of England with 27 outbreak within the last month across the three counties alone. Christmas goose producers are among those who have been hit hard.

The measures require bird keepers in parts of England to keep their birds indoors to help protect their flocks from bird flu.

It comes after poultry farmers called for a UK-wide housing order following a rise in bird flu outbreaks in the past month.

The UK’s chief veterinarian, Christine Middlemiss, said she expected to see the number of bird flu cases on farms continue to rise over the coming months as migratory birds return to the UK.

National Farmers’ Union poultry board chairman, James Mottershead, said: “Poultry farmers’ number one priority has always been the health and welfare of their flock … that’s why the NFU is now calling on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to consider expanding regional housing schemes on a national basis so that they reflect any increase in the level of risk across the country.”

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