Wales establishes AI prevention zone

by Erica Shaffer
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Wales implemented an avian influenza prevention zone across the country after two viruses killed wild birds in England.
Wales implemented an avian influenza prevention zone across the country as a precautionary measure after two viruses killed wild birds in England.
 
LONDON – An avian influenza prevention zone established in England on Jan. 18 was extended to all of Wales effective Jan. 25 as a precautionary measure, the Dept. for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) reported. There are currently no findings of AI in Wales.

“As a precautionary measure, in response to the increased risk level, and to mitigate the risk of infection, I am declaring an All Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone,” Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said in a statement.

“Although we have had, as yet, no findings of avian influenza in 2018, I consider this prevention zone and the requirement for enhanced biosecurity to be proportionate to the risk level faced in Wales,” Griffiths added. “It is essential we take steps to protect our poultry industry, international trade and the wider economy in Wales.”

Poultry growers in Wales now are required to implement stricter biosecurity controls, including:

• ensuring the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds;
• feeding and watering birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
• minimizing movement of people in and out of bird enclosures;
• cleaning and disinfecting footwear and keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy; and
• reducing any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas and fencing off wet or boggy areas.

Poultry growers with more than 500 birds must take additional biosecurity measures, such as restricting access to non-essential personnel, changing clothes and footwear before entering enclosures and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles.

“All keepers of poultry and other captive birds will need to comply with the requirements of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone,” Chief Veterinary Officer Christianne Glossop said in a statement. “Keepers must remain vigilant for signs of disease and practice the very highest levels of biosecurity.

“I strongly encourage all poultry keepers, even those with fewer than 50 birds, to provide their details to the Poultry Register. This will ensure they can be contacted immediately, via email or text update, in an avian disease outbreak, enabling them to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity and minimize the spread of infection.”

Defra established an AI prevention zone in England on Jan. 18 after the H5N6 virus was identified in wild birds in South Dorset and Warwickshire.

“There is no reason for trade to be affected following the findings in wild birds, according to the rules of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE),” Defra said in a statement. “There have been no reports of the virus in commercial birds and the UK has taken swift, precautionary action to help to prevent this happening.”

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