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.