Bird flu measures to remain in place in North-West UK
Two outbreaks in backyard flocks in the Wyre district of Lancashire last week mean that localised control measures will remain in place in parts of Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside when the official nation-wide prevention zone and ban on poultry gatherings is lifted in England on 15 May.
On Thursday, Defra announced that regional measures will remain in force in the North-West, on the recommendation of the department’s Chief Vet.
The latest risk assessment suggests that the disease, which is very serious in certain bird species but is not thought to pose a threat to humans, may still be present in wild bird populations or in the environment (the area is home to large numbers of wild waterfowl, which are highly susceptible to the disease).
The targeted Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) will cover the districts of Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Lancaster, Blackpool, Wyre, Fylde, Preston, Sefton, West Lancashire, South Ribble and Chorley.
This is in addition the 3 km Protection Zone and 10 km Surveillance Zone in place around the farms where bird flu was identified in chickens last week.
The localised AIPZ requires bird keepers to observe mandatory disease prevention measures, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds indoors.
Poultry gatherings in the districts covered by the new AIPZ will continue to be prohibited and keepers from the area will not be allowed to take birds elsewhere. Defra said the measures will remain under review and did not give a set duration for the new restrictions. ■