Bird flu updates

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Bird flu updates

This blog will be updated with the latest news on the H5N1 avian influenza (bird flu) situation.
  • Defra publishes report into H7N7 outbreak in Oxfordshire

    Defra has today published its epidemiology report into the case of H7N7 avian influenza in chickens on premises near Banbury, in Oxfordshire.  The source of infection has not been identified, with two hypotheses under investigation.  These are infection from other domestic poultry premises and from wildlife in contact with the infected premises.

    The report states that wild bird activity around the infected premises was low, and rates the risk of wild ducks or other waterfowl being the source of infection as low.  This reflects the time of year and the absence of any major water features nearby.  Samples taken from mallards introduced to a small pond on the farm for shooting have tested negative. There has been no virus detected in other wild birds or domestic poultry in the vicinity.  Further investigations of both potential sources of infection are ongoing.
     
    The RSPB continues to work closely with the British Trust for Ornithology, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and others to advise Defra on the actions required to investigate and manage the outbreak.  We have curtailed RSPB fieldwork within the control zones to eliminate the very small chance that such activity could spread the disease.

  • H7 avian influenza in Oxfordshire

    Highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza has been confirmed in chickens on premises near Banbury, in Oxfordshire.  The precise identity of the virus is yet to be determined.  Contingency plans have been activated by Defra, and an investigation into the cause of the outbreak is underway.  Given that at this time of year, wildfowl are largely absent from the area, it is highly unlikely that wild birds are connected to the outbreak.

     

    3km and 10km Control Zones have been established around the infected premises.  Inside these zones, poultry movements are restricted, and poultry within the inner 3km Zone must be housed or otherwise isolated to prevent contact with wild birds.

     

    The RSPB is working closely with the British Trust for Ornithology, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and others to advise Defra on the actions required to investigate and manage the outbreak.  We have also curtailed RSPB fieldwork within the control zones to eliminate the very small chance that such activity could spread the disease.

  • Defra publish report into H5N1 outbreak at Abbotsbury

    Defra has today published its preliminary epidemiology report into the case of H5N1 avian influenza in mute swans at the Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset. Though the source of infection has not been identified, one hypothesis is that wild birds moving from the continent may have carried the virus to the UK.

    The H5N1 virus is believed to have evolved in poultry and, worldwide, it has been transmitted in a number of ways, including movements of poultry and poultry products, the trade in captured wild birds (now banned in the European Union), direct human transfer and contact between wild birds and poultry.

    Although there are both mute swans and other waterfowl present at the Swannery, the virus has only been found in six swans found dead. Samples from 60 live trapped swans and faeces from other waterfowl have tested negative. There has been no virus detected to other wild birds or domestic poultry in the vicinity.

    There is much more we need to know about avian influenza in the UK, and the birds at Abbotsbury Swannery present a unique opportunity to increase our understanding of the transmission and impacts of this virus. Testing live swans for the disease was a good first step. We will support efforts by Defra to monitor progress of the virus amongst the swans at the Swannery over the coming weeks.

    Surveillance for avian influenza continues on RSPB nature reserves across the UK, in order to ensure that the poultry industry and other interests have the earliest possible warning of new outbreaks. We are grateful to Scottish Natural Heritage for recognising our efforts and making a significant contribution towards our monitoring costs in Scotland.