A case of bird flu has been identified in commercial poultry at a site in Donnington, Lincolnshire, England. This marks the first confirmed instance of bird flu in the country since October 1, 2023.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has verified the presence of the H5N1 virus at a property in Donnington, prompting the implementation of precautionary measures. A 3km (1.86 miles) Protection Zone and a 10km (6.21 miles) Surveillance Zone have been established around the affected property. Within the Protection Zone, strict monitoring of all bird and egg movements is in effect.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has assured the public that bird flu primarily affects birds, and the risk to the general public’s health is deemed very low.
Bird flu, an infectious disease that has impacted poultry and wild birds for a century, tends to surge in autumn, subsiding in spring and summer. The virus can rapidly spread through entire flocks via droppings, saliva, or contaminated feed and water.
Defra reports that more than 350 UK farms experienced bird flu infections between 2020 and 2023. In Lincolnshire, a region with numerous poultry farmers, over a million birds were culled in the two months following December 2021 due to identified outbreaks.
This recent outbreak underscores the significance of biosecurity measures for poultry farmers. Biosecurity guidelines, including isolating flocks from wild birds, regular disinfection of equipment and vehicles, and consistent monitoring of birds for signs of disease, are crucial in preventing the spread of bird flu. Poultry farmers are advised to adhere to all government recommendations on biosecurity.
The bird flu outbreak in Lincolnshire serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by the poultry industry and emphasizes the ongoing importance of vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard bird populations and public health.
The recent outbreak in Lincolnshire is a reminder of the importance of biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of bird flu. Poultry keepers should take steps to protect their flocks, such as keeping them indoors and away from wild birds.
If you find any dead or sick birds, you should report them to Defra immediately.