AVIAN INFLUENZA (BIRD FLU) 2021

November 3, 2021

***25/04/22*** Update regarding housing restrictions 

*** 21/12/2021 *** –   CVO Press Release

03/11/2021 –  The Government has brought the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in to force, whereby it is a legal requirement for bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity protocols.

***UPDATE 24/11/2021***

Following multiple cases of HPAI H5N1 across the country the Government has instigated additional measures to the AIPZ.

New housing measures  come into force at 00:01 on Monday 29 November 2021, mean that it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

Some useful links and information regarding the current Bird Flu situation for ALL bird keepers

APHA page

Up-to-date Biosecurity Advice 

DEFRA Approved Disinfectants

APHA Interactive Map – to check if you’re in a high risk area

There are 2 types of avian influenza.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is the more serious type. It is often fatal in birds. The main clinical signs of HPAI in birds (which can include any or a combination of the following) are:

  • sudden and rapid increase in the number of birds found dead
  • several birds affected in the same shed or air space
  • swollen head
  • closed and excessively watery eyes
  • lethargy and depression
  • recumbency and unresponsiveness
  • incoordination and loss of balance
  • head and body tremoring
  • drooping of the wings and/or dragging of legs
  • twisting of the head and neck
  • swelling and blue discolouration of comb and wattles
  • haemorrhages on shanks of the legs and under the skin of the neck
  • loss of appetite or marked decrease in feed consumption
  • sudden increase or decrease in water consumption
  • respiratory distress such as gaping (mouth breathing), nasal snicking (coughing sound), sneezing, gurgling or rattling
  • fever or noticeable increase in body temperature
  • discoloured or loose watery droppings
  • cessation or marked reduction in egg production

Clinical signs can vary between species of bird and some species (for example ducks and geese) may show minimal clinical signs, but can spread the disease to other species.

Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious. It can cause mild breathing problems, but affected birds will not always show clear signs of infection.

The severity of LPAI depends on the type of bird and whether it has any other illnesses.

The disease spreads from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces. It can also be spread by contaminated feed and water or by dirty vehicles, clothing and footwear.

The avian influenza virus changes frequently, creating new strains, and there is a constant risk that one of the new strains may spread easily among people. But there is no evidence that any recent strain of avian influenza has been able to spread directly between people.

Avian influenza isn’t an airborne disease.

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 (03459 33 55 77).