Herefordshire Council are currently supporting Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in the control of an outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1 strain) affecting poultry in an intensive rearing unit in the Shobdon area near Leominster. This follows the Government’s confirmation of such a case, yesterday evening (Thursday 2nd December).
I would personally like to reassure you that our officers are working closely with the APHA and other agencies in a coordinated response. These agencies are working together to contain the infection and our enforcement officers will therefore be visiting residents in the 3km radius surrounding the site to monitor, engage and inform those keeping birds and to assess or report any risks that might exist.
You are probably aware that since the 3rd November, the UK has been covered by a national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) which means that it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures.
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone means that bird keepers all across the country must:
- House or net all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild birds;
- Cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing;
- Reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control;
- Thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis;
- Keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points and
- Minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds.
Bird keepers can be guided to the gov.uk website for full details of the AIPZ and updated biosecurity guidance.
Your residents should be reminded not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that they may find. If they do find dead wild birds these are likely to be swans, geese or ducks although it can affect any other wild bird, such as gulls or birds of prey. They should report this to the Defra helpline on: 03459 33 55 77.
Bird keepers can also report any suspicion of disease to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200301.