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News from BIAZA

Dec 7, 2016

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.

Defra established an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone on Tuesday 6 December which requires all those holding captive birds to do everything practically possible to limit their contact with wild birds for the next 30 days, until 6th January.
No outbreaks have been found in the UK as yet and the PHE advises that the threat to public health is low. However a 30 day Prevention Zone has been put in place.  The zone requires all domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks to be housed or, where not practical, their separation from contact from wild birds.  For other captive birds, keepers should take practical steps to keep birds separate from wild birds.  In effect, for zoo and aquarium bird populations, where it is not possible to house birds indoors additional biosecurity measures must be taken.

•    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. 


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