Defra officials have reclassified the risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds from high to medium, following a reduction of the number of findings of the disease.
The risk of HPAI H5 remains low (event is rare but does occur) in poultry. The government’s chief vet, Christine Middlemiss, told delegates at the EPIC conference earlier this week producers should remain vigilant for signs of AI in their flocks and practice stringent biosecurity.
In the United Kingdom, one case of HPAI has confirmed since 1 October 2023, in Scotland. In October 2022, the situation was far worse, with confirmed 101 cases.
“It was a torrid time for all of us,” Middlemiss said of the past year. She said this autumn, the situation is “quite quiet” so far, and said there was the “suggestion we are starting to see immunity in wild birds.”
Defra said that while the risk had been reclassified, this was being “continually reviewed and may increase again as autumn migration continues.”