UNITED KINGDOM, Addlestone, Surrey. The UK's Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss has declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the whole of England to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading.
Declaring an AIPZ means that it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.
Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese are also urged to strengthen their biosecurity measures in order to prevent further outbreaks of avian influenza in the UK.
Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
The UK Government has worked closely with Scottish and Welsh Governments to introduce national prevention zones at the same time, meaning that the restrictions will be applied across the whole of Great Britain.
The introduction of the AIPZ comes after two separate, unrelated cases in kept poultry and birds confirmed in England last week and a third case of H5N8 avian flu in captive birds was confirmed at a broiler breeder farm in Herefordshire. A very small number of wild birds in South West of England have also been found to have had the disease.