Disease control areas have been put in place after bird flu was discovered at two separate sites in Wales.
The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Professor Christianne Glossop has confirmed the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 infection on two separate commercial premises in Powys – one near Newtown and one near Welshpool.
Both premises have pheasants on site. Read more: Find all of our environment stories here.
As a means of containing the disease, a 3km Protection Zone, 10km Surveillance Zone, and 10km Restricted Zone have been declared around each of the two infected premises, to limit the risk of disease spread.
Within these zones, bird movements and gatherings are restricted and all poultry holdings must be declared.
The autumn and winter of 2021/2022 has seen an unprecedented incursion of avian influenza into Europe and these cases take the number of cases in poultry and other captive birds in Wales to five, in total.
In November 2021, The Minister for Rural Affairs declared an all-Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, making it a legal requirement for all poultry and captive bird keepers to house their birds, or keep them separated from wild birds.
The Welsh Government says the risk to public health from the virus is considered “very low”. It says that The Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.
All keepers are strongly advised to be vigilant for signs of the disease such as increased mortality or respiratory distress. If keepers have any concerns about the health of their birds, they are encouraged to seek prompt advice from their veterinary surgeon.
The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Professor Christianne Glossop, said: “These cases of avian influenza in Wales are a cause for concern, and evidence the risk to our birds has not diminished.
“Keepers of birds must be vigilant and ensure they have the very highest levels of biosecurity in place. There is always more that can be done to protect your birds.
“I urge everyone to leave no stone unturned. Once again review all the measures in place and identify any areas for improvement. Think about risks from direct contact with wild birds, especially waterfowl and also anything that could be contaminated by bird drops – clothing and footwear, equipment, vehicles, feed and bedding. Make improvements where you can to prevent further spread of this devastating disease within our domestic bird population.
“Housing measures are in force to protect poultry and kept birds, but housing is only effective when combined with implementation of the most stringent biosecurity measures.
“Suspicion of avian influenza or any other notifiable disease must be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency immediately.”
Members of the public are encouraged to report any dead birds they encounter. These may be collected for examination and avian influenza surveillance, depending on the species and location.
Members of the public are encouraged to not pick up or touch any sick or dead birds and instead contact the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.
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