Avian Influenza update 1st December 2020.

As discussed during our meeting last week, an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) will be introduced in Northern Ireland (NI) from 00.01 on 1 December .

The AIPZ places a legal requirement on all bird keepers in NI to follow strict biosecurity measures.  This applies if you keep pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard or hobby flock.

The decision to introduce an AIPZ follows the detection of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 (HPAI H5N8) in five wild birds across NI in recent weeks.  Further cases of AI have been detected in over 100 wild birds across Great Britain with five cases of the H5N8 strain being confirmed in commercial premises in England. There have also been three reported cases in wild birds in the Republic of Ireland where similar measures are also being introduced on 1 December.

The measures in the AIPZ are a legal requirement for all bird keepers and include stringent, mandatory biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of the disease from wild birds, or another source, to poultry, including:

  • a ban on bird gatherings
  • a requirement that poultry or other captive birds are provided with food and water to which wild birds have no access,
  • avoiding transfer of contamination between premises by cleansing and disinfecting equipment, vehicles and footwear;
  • separating wild waterfowl (ducks and geese) from domestic species; and
  • reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept

Full details of measures required within the AIPZ can be found in the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone declaration here: www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/avian-influenza-prevention-zone-declaration-0

If you haven’t already done so, it would be appreciated if you would encourage all your members to complete the biosecurity self-assessment checklist which is now available on the DAERA website Click here.  The checklist will assist all keepers in assuring themselves on the level of biosecurity on their premises over this high risk period and ensure that they are complying with the mandatory measures required within the AIPZ.

The required risk mitigation measures should be considered as the minimum necessary. All keepers are encouraged to exceed this where possible. The completed form should be retained and revisited periodically to ensure the measures deployed remain effective.

Further guidance can be found at the following links

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Q&A | Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (daera-ni.gov.uk)

AIPZ Guidance | Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (daera-ni.gov.uk)

Thank you for your ongoing support with proactive messaging regarding vigilance, early reporting of suspected disease and importance of maintaining good biosecurity measures during this crucial period.

Thank you in advance for your support.