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Avian flu in Leicestershire

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a disease that mainly affects wild and captive birds such as poultry and game birds.

Housing measures now lifted

See: Avian influenza (bird flu): Latest situation

On 11 November 2020, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the government department responsible for the environment, declared England and Wales as Prevention Zones to reduce the risk of transmission of avian influenza from wild birds to captive birds.

The measures apply to all keepers of captive birds from large scale poultry producers to seasonal poultry keepers and keepers of backyard flocks and pet birds.

You can read full details of these measures and the latest avian flu updates on the Gov UK website.

Protect your birds from avian influenza

Mandatory housing measures ended at 23:59 on 31 March 2021.

Avian influenza infection can survive in the environment for several weeks. You can follow these measures to protect your birds:

  • Keep them away from wet areas
    • Net or cover ponds and fence off streams, standing water and boggy areas
  • Deter wild birds from the area you will be releasing your birds onto
    • Remove any wild bird feeding sources
    • Use bird scarers
  • Decontaminate your birds’ outdoor area
    • Clean and disinfect hard surfaces with a government approved disinfectant
    • Harrowing or raking grass areas to expose them to more sunlight, which may help kill any surviving virus

Search ‘avian influenza’ at GOV.UK for more information.

Avian flu symptoms

Birds with avian influenza may have the following symptoms:

  • Swollen head
  • Blue discolouration of the neck or throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Respiratory distress such as gasping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling and rattling
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased mortality

Poultry keepers and members of the public must be vigilant.

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 0300 020 0301.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (0345 933 5577 - please select option 7).

The Food Standards Agency advised that avian influenza in poultry does not pose a food safety risk, and Public Health England has advised that the risk of transmission of avian influenza to humans is very low.

Read further details about avian influenza data and analysis on the GOV.UK website.

Register your flock

You can help prevent the spread of disease and protect the national poultry flock by registering your flock (however small) on the Poultry Register.

Leicestershire case

Avian influenza was confirmed at a premises in Leicestershire, just outside Melton Mowbray on 23 November 2020. All birds at the premises at risk of the infection were humanely culled and the site has undergone complete cleansing and disinfection.

Foot patrols were carried out by Trading Standards officers to identify other poultry keepers within 3km of the site. These were then visited by the Animal and Plant Health Agency. Red warnings signs were put up on key routes in and around the Surveillance Zone which have now been removed.

The 3km Protection Zone surrounding the premise was revoked on 17 December 2020 and the area that formed the wider 10km Surveillance Zone was removed on the 25 December 2020.

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