The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss has urged poultry keepers in Suffolk to step up their efforts in the fight against bird flu following a recent spike of cases in the county.
In the last month alone, there have been five new infected premises confirmed in Suffolk with highly pathogenic avian influenza. The warning comes as the UK faces its largest ever outbreak of bird flu with over 100 cases confirmed since the start of November.
The Government introduced housing measures in November 2021 to minimise the disease spreading. This means that if you keep chickens, ducks, geese or any other birds you are legally required to keep them indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures.
If you do not do this, the disease could kill your birds and you could be prosecuted. These measures apply to all bird keepers whether you keep birds commercially or have a single pet chicken.
Ms Middlemiss said: “We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease including by introducing housing measures. However we are still seeing a number of bird flu cases both on commercial farms and in backyard birds right across Suffolk.
“Many poultry keepers in Suffolk have excellent biosecurity standards but the number of cases we are seeing suggests that not enough is being done by all bird keepers to keep bird flu out. Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.
“The avian flu outbreak has not gone away and implementing scrupulous biosecurity remains absolutely critical. You must continue to regularly clean and disinfect your footwear and clothes before entering enclosures, stop your birds mixing with any wild birds and only allow visitors that are strictly necessary. It is your actions that will help keep your birds safe.|”