• Bird Flu update – 5 February 2018

    Following confirmation of Avian Influenza in birds at Abbotsbury in Dorset on 12 January 2018, there have now been a number of confirmed reports of bird flu in wild birds from different localities in England.  Some have involved individual birds but 31 dead waterfowl tested positive for bird flu in the Dorset incident. Senior Policy Officer Robin Wynde has provided the below update.

    RSPB staff have been keeping their eyes…

    • 6 Feb 2018
  • H5N8 continues to spread

    New outbreaks of avian influenza H5N8 this week in a commercial turkey flock in Lincolnshire, and a commercial flock of farmed breeding pheasants Lancashire, suggest that that the virus is continuing to spread. There have now been a total of six outbreaks of H5N8 in captive birds in the UK this winter, three of which have been in separate turkey farms in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire, although whether or not this latest…

    • 27 Jan 2017
  • Update on H5N8

    Since I last updated this blog on 31st December we have received information about two more confirmed cases of H5N8 on RSPB reserves: a wigeon on the Exe Estuary in Devon, and a teal at Conwy in north Wales. Both birds were found dead on the reserves and were immediately reported to the Defra helpline by RSPB staff.

    As mentioned in my last update this is not unexpected as the virus is probably circulating in wild birds…

    • 7 Jan 2017
  • H5N8 found on RSPB reserves

    We have been informed that highly pathonegic avian influenza H5N8 has been recorded in a small number of wildfowl on RSPB reserves at Frampton and Marshside. The virus was detected in birds found dead on site as a result of the vigilance of  reserve staff and visitors. This finding is not unexpected as the disease has already been found in wild birds across Europe, including cases in England, Scotland and Wales earlier…

    • 31 Dec 2016
  • Avian Influenza confirmed in wild duck in Carmarthenshire

    Defra have confirmed that a wild wigeon found dead in Carmarthenshire in Wales has tested positive for Avian Influenza H5N8, the same strain of the disease confirmed at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last week. This is the first time a wild bird has tested positive for avian influenza in the UK this winter.

    This follows the introduction of a Prevention Zone across Great Britain earlier this month requiring all keepers…

    • 22 Dec 2016
  • H5N8 reaches the UK

    H5N8, the strain of avian influenza currently spreading across Europe, was confirmed on a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last Friday. Defra immediately put in place a 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone around the outbreak site, restricting all movements of poultry, captive birds or mammals in order to limit the risk of the virus from spreading, and all turkeys on the farm have since been humanely culled. These…

    • 20 Dec 2016
  • Avian Influenza spreads throughout Europe

    Bird flu has hit the headlines in recent weeks as highly pathogenic strain H5N8 spreads across Europe. The virus has been detected in 13 European countries to-date with outbreaks in wild birds, poultry, hunting bird decoys, and a small number of zoological collections. The strain currently circulating has never been detected in humans.

    So far this winter there have been no cases in the UK. Defra, along with Welsh and…

    • 16 Dec 2016
  • H7N7 avian flu confirmed in Lancashire

    This morning a case of H7N7 avian flu was confirmed on a Lancashire chicken farm near Preston. This is the same strain that caused an outbreak at a farm in Hampshire in February. Further detail on the current outbreak can be found here.

    Defra initiated its Contingency Plan immediately to prevent the spread of infection. Culling of all poultry on the farm began over the weekend in anticipation of positive results of testing…

    • 13 Jul 2015
  • UN convened task force publish statement on H5N8

    Thankfully, since last month’s outbreak of avian influenza H5N8 on a duck breeding farm in East Yorkshire, there have been no further reports of avian influenza in the UK.

    Within the EU, H5N8 outbreaks have now been reported on a total of five poultry farms in the South Holland region of the Netherlands, and one turkey farm in Germany. Within wild bird populations, the virus has been confirmed in one common teal…

    • 5 Dec 2014
  • H5N8 avian influenza confirmed

    Defra animal health laboratory has confirmed that the outbreak in East Yorkshire is the H5N8 strain. This is the same strain as that which has caused outbreaks among poultry in Germany and the Netherlands in the last week.

     However there are no known records of this strain being detected in humans and the risk to public health remains very low.

    Defra investigations continue. Over the next few days the outcome of tests…

    • 19 Nov 2014
  • Avian flu, deja vu

    It was disturbing to hear of the news of an outbreak of Avian Influenza in East Yorkshire on yesterday’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme – there is a well rehearsed process for alerting the network of organisations, including us, in the event of a confirmed outbreak. But our notification did arrive later in the day.

    In any event – it soon became clear that Monday would be busy in terms of media interest in the…

    • 18 Nov 2014
  • 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…

    • 17 Jun 2008
  • 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…

    • 4 Jun 2008
  • 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…
    • 30 Jan 2008
  • Further swans test positive for H5N1

    Defra has confirmed that a fourth mute swan, found dead in the vicinity of Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset, has tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza. The BBC is reporting that a fifth swan has also tested positive for the disease. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn MP, commented in a statement that additional cases were not unexpected, and announced that sampling of live swans…
    • 18 Jan 2008
  • H5N1 avian influenza confirmed in Dorset

    The RSPB will increase its surveillance of wild birds on its wetland nature reserves in Dorset, Devon and Somerset in response to the news that the avian flu virus H5N1 has been detected in mute swans from the Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset.

    Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB's Director of Conservation, is clear that vigilance is the first priority: 'Since H5N1 bird flu first appeared as a threat to birds in the UK, the RSPB has been…

    • 10 Jan 2008
  • H5N1 disease control restrictions lifted

    Defra has lifted the surveillance and restriction zones put in place following the recent outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in Suffolk. The outbreak was confined to the two premises and, with no further outbreaks, all restrictions on bird gatherings and movements of poultry and poultry meat have been lifted.

    During the outbreak, staff on RSPB nature reserves in Norfolk and Suffolk increased four-fold the frequency of surveillance…

    • 21 Dec 2007
  • Defra trying to blame wild birds

    Defra is today trying to blame wild birds rather than poor biosecurity for the bird flu outbreak in Suffolk.

    Defra's preliminary epidemiological report, published on its website, ignores the likelihood that one infected commercial turkey or duck brought the disease to the farm.

    Defra also failed to take action quickly enough to prevent the potential spread of the virus into wild birds after its discovery. Last Friday…

    • 29 Nov 2007
  • Wild birds still at risk from bird flu

    The cause of the bird flu outbreak in Suffolk remains unknown but carriage by wild birds seems increasingly unlikely.

    The RSPB is urging Defra to immediately put in place stringent measures to prevent wild birds picking up the virus from the farms where the disease was found.

    Dr Mark Avery, Conservation Director, said: 'Defra must make sure there is absolutely no chance of the virus spreading into wild birds. It could still…

    • 23 Nov 2007
  • H5N1 confirmed at second premises

    H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed in turkeys on premises near Thetford, Norfolk.  The site was identified last week as a 'Dangerous Contact' of the first infected premises near Diss, Suffolk, so culling of the birds is already complete.  A 3km Protection Zone has been placed around the premises on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and the existing 10km Surveillance Zone has been extended.  A wider Restricted Zone covers…
    • 19 Nov 2007
  • H5N1 Avian Influenza in Suffolk

    The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza has been confirmed in turkeys on premises near Diss on the Norfolk/ Suffolk border.  The premises also house ducks and geese.  Contingency plans have been activated, and Defra has confirmed that all birds on the premises will be slaughtered. 

    A 3 km Protection Zone and a 10 km Surveillance Zone have been established around the premises. Inside these zones, poultry movements…

    • 13 Nov 2007
  • Innocent until proven guilty

    Wild birds were blamed last February when bird flu was discovered at a Bernard Matthews farm in Suffolk.

    Those claims never rang true - migrating birds were on their way out rather than on their way in - and so it proved.

    Claims that wild birds are responsible for this week's outbreak may also prove too hasty. Most migrating birds have arrived for the winter and no dead wild birds have been found to be carrying bird flu…
    • 13 Nov 2007
  • H5 Avian Influenza in Suffolk

    H5 avian influenza has been confirmed in turkeys on premises near Diss on the Norfolk/ Suffolk border.  The precise identity of the virus is yet to be confirmed.  The premises also house ducks and geese.  Contingency plans have been activated, and Defra has confirmed that all birds on the premises will be slaughtered. 

    A 3 km Protection Zone and a 10 km Surveillance Zone are being established around the premises. Inside these…

    • 12 Nov 2007
  • H5N1 is confirmed in France

    Tests have confirmed that three Mute Swans found dead in eastern France were positive for the H5N1 strain of avian influenza. The birds were found dead in a pond near the town of Assenoncourt in the Moselle region. These are the first cases of H5N1 in France since early 2006 and follow on from recent cases in Germany and the Czech republic.
    • 5 Jul 2007
  • H5N1 confirmed in Germany

    On 25 June 2007, it was confirmed that H5N1, the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza, has been found in six wild birds (mute swans and a Canada goose) in Nuremberg, south Germany.  Protection and surveillance zones have been established in accordance with the disease control measures required under EU legislation.

    • 26 Jun 2007