On 7th December, Defra and the APHA published their 8th update on the outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the UK and Europe.
Further to declaring an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across England, Scotland and Wales, there have been further cases of HPAI of the strain H5N8 in poultry, and many reports in wild birds.
Elsewhere in Europe, since 1st December, H5N8 has been reported in poultry and captive birds in Germany, Netherlands, Poland, and Ukraine (H5), and in wild birds in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and Norway.
The presence of H5N8 in the UK was not unexpected given the annual autumn migration of wild birds, and the rapidly developing situation in Russia and Europe. Also, although the Netherlands has a far higher number of wintering water birds than the UK, cold weather on the continent can force birds to move across the North Sea to the British Isles.
In Great Britain, the sensitivity of surveillance of wild birds has been increased and several systems are in place, including working through NGOs (non-governmental organisations), and members of the public reporting wild bird mortality.
Housing measures also came into force on 14th December in England, Scotland and Wales which mean that it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.
However, Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low, and the Food Standards Agency has said that avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
You will find all latest information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#latest-update