September 6, 2021


UK now free of avian influenza


The United Kingdom has been declared free from avian influenza after suffering a major outbreak of the disease last winter.


The UK's Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, declared that international standards have been met to declare the country free from bird flu. However, she also reiterated calls for all poultry keepers to remain vigilant for signs of the disease as the country moves into the coming winter.


Highly pathogenic avian influenza continues to circulate in both wild and captive birds in Europe and as winter approaches, the risk of migratory wild birds flying to the UK over the colder months will mean that the risks for domestic poultry are likely to rise.


Between November 2020 and March 2021, 26 cases of avian influenza were confirmed in kept poultry and wild birds in the UK. In all cases, movement restrictions were put in place to limit the spread of disease and carried out thorough investigations into the source and possible spread of infection.


The UK government also introduced measures to protect poultry from infection from wild birds, including a requirement to temporarily house birds and a ban on bird gatherings.


"Declaring the UK free from avian influenza means trade discussions on UK poultry and poultry products can restart with existing and potential new trading partners," Middlemiss said.


- The Poultry Site