European avian influenza outbreak: Defra issues restrictions on captive birds
Following outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza confirmed in poultry and wild birds in several countries across Europe, Defra has issued restrictions on the housing of captive birds in the UK.
• This strain of avian influenza is H5N8. As such we believe that there is no vaccination available therefore the only option for prevention is robust biosecurity measures.
• BIAZA recommend that zoos and aquariums contact their local vet officer to discuss the biosecurity measures that have been put in place. Consideration must also be given to members of staff who may also be keeping poultry or other bird species as part of private collections in terms of site biosecurity.
• Collections must ensure that contingency plans are in place, particularly to deal with a potential spread of this outbreak to within approximately 50 KM. These plans should also be discussed with a local vet officer. Information including guidance on establishing a contingency plan can be found here on the BIAZA website.
Please follow this link for more information from the Defra website.
Some local vet officers are advising closing walk through exhibits and stopping flying displays. This is obviously more difficult for some than others and is currently just advice. However BIAZA would recommend that all collections clearly document the biosecurity measures that have been put in place and discuss them with a local vet officer.
We will provide further updates as we receive new information.