Welsh Government introduced a precautionary all Wales Avian Influenza prevention zone on 11 November in order to mitigate the risk of infection following recent cases in England.
Since cases of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 have been identified in domestic and wild birds in England, the risk level for disease in wild birds is now high and the risk of direct and indirect transmission to poultry has increased to medium.
The prevention zone requires all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to take appropriate and practicable steps to comply with mandatory enhanced biosecurity measures including:
- Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;
- Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
- Minimise movement of people in and out of bird enclosures;
- Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;
- Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.
Keepers with more than 500 birds are also required to restrict access to non-essential persons, change clothing and footwear before entering enclosures and disinfecting vehicles.
There is also a temporary suspension of all bird gatherings across Wales however the prevention zone will be reviewed regularly.
Welsh Government also encourages all poultry keepers, regardless of numbers, to provide details to the Poultry Register in order to be contacted immediately in the event of a disease outbreak.
Any suspicion of an outbreak should be reported immediately to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).