THE Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales has confirmed Avian Influenza H5N8 in pheasants on Anglesey.
A temporary control zone (TCZ) has been immediately imposed around the infected premises, to limit the risk of the disease spreading and as part of the wider surveillance and disease control measures.
Further laboratory results to determine if virus is a Highly Pathogenic type are expected in the next 48 hours. If so, the TCZ will be replaced by 3 km protection and 10 km surveillance zones.
Mortality of birds on the premises is high and all those surviving in the affected group will be culled immediately.
This is the first confirmation of the disease in Wales in the winter of 2020/21. But 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 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.
The Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop, said:
“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.
“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 emerging through machinery, feed, clothing and equipment.
“Bird keepers should remain vigilant for signs of disease and report any suspicions to their veterinary surgeon.”
Poultry keepers with more than 50 birds must be on the poultry register, and those with fewer are strongly advised to register their birds to enable disease control. This will ensure they can be contacted immediately in the event of an avian disease outbreak so that they can take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.
Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577.