Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 is still present across the UK, particularly in the South East of England. In Scotland, at the time of writing, there are only four active cases within the captive bird population, two in Orkney, one in Aberdeenshire and one in Stornoway. However, infections within the wild bird population are still widespread. In England there has 80 confirmed cases of HPAI (H5N1) since 1 October 2022 and 214 overall since the H5N1 outbreak started on 27 October 2021.
The below map shows current avian influenza control zones in place in the UK. Note the purple area in the South East of England shows the regional influenza prevention zone with mandatory housing measures in place.
Avian Influenza Prevention Zone
As a result of the high level of infections across the UK, an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) came into force on the 17th of October 2022. This places several restrictions and obligations on poultry keepers; however, this does not currently include a requirement to house birds. Although, this is being kept under constant review. The only housing restrictions currently in place is in the Regional Influenza Prevention Zone shown on the above map in the Southeast of England. However, a new housing order for all captive birds in England will come into force on the 7th of November.
AIPZ covers all captive birds, including layers, chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks. The main AIPZ measures are outlined below:
- No Poultry gatherings.
- All poultry must be in an enclosed area.
- Biosecurity protocols must be in place and enforced to reduce the risk of infection, this includes disinfection protocols, feed and water biosecurity measures and measures to discourage wild birds from coming into contact with captive birds.
- Movement of people to and from any part of a poultry premise is restricted to essential tasks, such as:
- essential movements for looking after the welfare of the poultry or other captive birds,
- collecting eggs,
- movements for official or inspection visits.
- Poultry accommodation must be properly maintained to both ensure animal welfare during housing periods and increase biosecurity by reducing the risk of wild birds or contaminated water etc from entering the poultry shed.
Further information on the new measures mandated by the AIPZ go to the below link: https://www.gov.scot/publications/avian-influenza-prevention-zone-october-2022/
For information on what Avian Influenza is, how to avoid it, how to spot it in your flock, what to do if you suspect an HPAI infection in your flock and for bird welfare recommendations during housing periods see the our previous article on the subject available at https://www.fas.scot/article/avian-influenza-bird-flu-advice-note-for-poultry-keepers/
Related FAS Materials
Sign up to the FAS newsletter
Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service