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Avian Influenza: UK Disease-free With Continued Vigilance Required

3 weeks ago
179 views

Posted
16th June, 2020 13h33

Author
DEFRA


The UK now meets international requirements to declare freedom from Avian Influenza, as the chief vet urges continued vigilance.

The Chief Veterinary Officer has announced the UK has met international requirements to declare itself free from Avian Influenza (AI) H5N3, but reiterated calls for all poultry keepers to remain vigilant for signs of disease, as there is a real and constant threat.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) continues to circulate in Europe and as winter approaches later in the year, the risk of migratory wild birds infecting domestic poultry will rise. The UK was previously declared free of Avian Flu in September 2017 and has remained free of highly pathogenic avian influenza since then. But a low pathogenic strain disease returned in December 2019 which was quickly met by Government action. 

In December, a single case of low pathogenic avian flu of the H5N3 strain, which poses no threat to human health, was confirmed at a commercial chicken farm in Suffolk. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) put movement restrictions in place to limit the spread of disease and carried out thorough investigations into the source and possible spread of infection and concluded that the most likely source was indirect contact with wild birds. The full epidemiology report is available on GOV.UK.

The UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Christine Middlemiss, urged keepers to remain vigilant for signs of disease and reiterated the need for good biosecurity at all times:

The government continues to monitor the international situation and carry out surveillance in poultry and wild birds and publish regular disease updates.


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