Two cases of avian influenza have been confirmed by Defra over the weekend.
AI H5N3 was confirmed in turkey breeders at a commercial premises near Winsford, Cheshire West and Chester on 26 March 2021. Further testing has confirmed this to be a low pathogenic strain and the 1km Temporary Movement Restriction Zone has been replaced with a 1km low pathogenic avian influenza Restricted Zone.
On 27, AI H5N8 (pathogenicity to be confirmed) was confirmed in broiler chickens at a commercial premises near Uttoxeter, East Staffordshire on 27 March 2021. A 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been declared around the premises. All the poultry on site will be humanely culled.
Last week, the UK’s four chief vets announced that compulsory housing measures for poultry and captive birds were set to be lifted at the end of the month.
Mark Williams, chief executive of the British Egg Industry Council said the end of the housing order should not be postponed.
“The most recent APHA risk assessment pointed to the risk level from wild birds continuing to decrease and it would not be right for one unfortunate incident to prevent the approx. 22 million free range hens in GB being allowed to range again from 1 April,” he told Poultry News.
“We will of course be working with Defra to more closely understand the likely source in this particular case and our farmers will continue to observe the highest standards of bio-security to ensure birds remain safe, which is paramount.”