The presence of Avian Influenza H5N8 in pheasants on Anglesey has been confirmed by The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales. A temporary control zone (TCZ) has been implemented on Anglesey and could be increased if the lab tests confirm the strain is highly pathogenic.
The test results from the laboratory are expected within the next 48 hours and if they show that this is a highly pathogenic type, the TCZ that has been imposed on Anglesey to limit the risk of the disease spreading will be extended by a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone.
This is the first confirmation of the disease in Wales in the winter of 2020/21, yet it follows confirmation of several outbreaks of Avian Influenza in other parts of the UK this winter. In addition, there have been many findings of the virus in wild birds, mainly waterfowl, including in Wales.
The advice from Public Health Wales (PHW) is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has made clear that Avian Influenza does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
“This case of Avian Influenza in pheasants on Anglesey serves to reinforce the need for all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to practice the very highest levels of biosecurity. This is why in November, the Minister for Rural Affairs declared an all-Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone,” said the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop.
“The Prevention Zone, which requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to apply strict biosecurity measures and to keep their birds indoors, or otherwise separate them from wild birds, remains in place, as does the temporary suspension on gatherings of poultry.
“Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection originating in wild birds, particularly waterfowl, entering sheds and buildings indirectly. There must be a strict biosecurity barrier around housed poultry to prevent infection entering through machinery, feed, clothing and equipment.
“Bird keepers should remain vigilant for signs of disease and report any suspicions to their veterinary surgeon.”
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