TEMPORARY control zones on premises with birds have been put in place after a case of avian flu was identified near Uttoxeter.
A commercial poultry business, based near Ellastone, is at the centre of a strict control zone with a 3km radius, which means any captive birds, including pets, must be isolated. All birds on the infected premises will be humanely culled.
A wider 10km radius control zone is also in place, with restrictions on the movements of birds and eggs stretching from Uttoxeter to Ilam in the Peak District and from Ashbourne to Cheadle. A highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed in broiler chickens at a commercial premises on Saturday, March 27. A Wootton Farms spokesperson confirmed an investigation was taking place into a case of avian influenza and that it was “supporting DEFRA in the response measures that needed to be taken.”
Anyone keeping captive birds, from pet canaries to commercial poultry and game, needs to adhere to the restrictions that have been put in place until the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs withdraws or amends the measures.
Temporary Control Zone A applies to any captive birds within a 3km radius of the site, which includes the villages of Denstone, Ellastone, Wootton, parts of Ramshorn, Norbury Farley and Alton.
The occupier of any premises in this zone where poultry or captive birds are kept must make records of any person who visits and if they have any contact with birds, as well as records of poultry and egg movements.
Birds should be housed and must be kept isolated, while birds that are kept isolated but not housed, must have no contact with other birds on the premises or wild birds. Game birds should not be released.
Biosecurity measures must also be put in place, including cleansing and disinfection of vehicles and licenses must be obtained from veterinary inspectors for certain activities. Temporary Control Zone B applies to homes and businesses within 10km of the site, which includes the towns of Cheadle, Uttoxeter and Ashbourne alongside Rocester, Stramshall, Hollington, Tean, Oakamoor, Whiston, Foxt, Cauldon, Waterhouses, Ilam and Mapleton as well as the villages of Snelston, Osmaston, Wyaston, Alkmonton, Marston Montgomery and parts of Doveridge in Derbyshire.
The movements of people, birds and eggs will also need to be recorded in this zone, but some restrictions on movement will not apply to pet animals that are kept within a home and have no contact with other poultry, captive birds or cages where other birds have been kept. Biosecurity measures still need to be put in place.
An Avian influenza Prevention Zone was declared across the whole of England in November, although the risk will be reduced to ‘medium’ today (Wednesday, March 31). Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards team is working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the Staffordshire Civil Contingencies Unit to respond to the incident.
Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards manager Stephanie Young said: “Anyone with poultry in Staffordshire should be vigilant and look out for signs of avian influenza and maintain biosecurity measures. If anyone has any concerns or needs further information, they should contact us straight away.”
People can contact the trading standards team on 01785 277875 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Three strains of avian flu have been identified.
Risk to humans is ‘very low’ and avian flu is not connected with coronavirus. While the virus changes frequently, there is no evidence any recent strain of avian flu has been able to spread directly between people. More information about the restrictions can be found at gov.uk.
There are two types of avian flu. The more serious type is known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and is often fatal in birds.
Clinical signs include:
Swollen head Blue discolouration of neck and throat
Loss of appetite
Respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling
Fewer eggs laid
Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious, sometimes causing mild breathing problems, but the severity depends on the type of bird and any other illnesses.
Avian flu spreads from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces. Contaminated feed, water or dirty vehicles, clothing and footwear can also spread the virus.
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