Avian influenza confirmed in Cheshire unrelated to Kent case.

Avian influenza of the H5N8 strain was confirmed at a premises near Frodsham in Cheshire on 2nd November 2020. Testing confirms this is a highly pathogenic strain related to the virus currently circulating in Europe.

A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. These zones replace the temporary control zones enforced on the 2 November 2020. All birds at the broiler breeding rearing farm will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease.

This is unrelated to the low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) H5N2 outbreak near Deal, Kent that was confirmed on 2nd November.

Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council, Richard Griffiths, said:

“Immediate action has been taken to limit the risk of spread, including plans to cull the remaining poultry and captive birds at the farm. Bird keepers must remain vigilant and report any signs of the disease, whilst ensuring that good biosecurity is practiced onsite. We are working with Defra and are remaining vigilant on poultry sites to minimise the risk to the national flock.”

The UK Poultry Health and Welfare Group, chaired by BPC’s Technical Director, Maire Burnett, held a live webinar to promote awareness of Avian Influenza and the risk it poses to the domestic wild bird population.

Informative presentations made by key speakers – including the UK Chief Veterinary Officer, the Poultry Club of GB, Defra, the British Poultry Council Veterinary Advisor and a key exporter of high value breeding stock – meant that the 500 registered viewers were assured of what to look out for, who to contact and how to implement the necessary biosecurity measures to ensure the protection of the health of the national poultry flock, the environment and the wider rural economy.

Whilst speaking at the event, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss declared that “our main priority is to protect your animals,” which is why “swift reporting is necessary.” “Bird flu is constantly out there in the world…just because it is far away, doesn’t mean it isn’t there!”

Similarly, after presenting a discussion on what bird owners should look out for and biosecurity tips, BPC Veterinary Advisor, Daniel Parker, said that “it is better to report it and get advice than harbour and spread it” and cause disruption.

You can watch the webinar below.

Relevant time stamps:

– Lee Grant, Chairman of the Poultry Club of GB, Avian Influenza from a non-commercial perspective, 14.50.

– Daniel Parker, BPC Veterinary Advisor, Signs of Avian Influenza and biosecurity measures, 24.57.