Biosecurity measures are being enforced nationwide after the latest bird flu discovery.
The national prevention zone is the result of an outbreak of the avian flu found that has been found in wild birds initially in Dorset and now in Warwickshire.
Results from tests show that the virus is no longer isolated to a single site prompting the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to take more serious action.
A total of 40+ infected birds have now been identified and it will now become a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.
Chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens, confirmed that the prevention zone would cover the whole of England on Thursday (January 18) on a precautionary basis amid fears that the disease could spread.
The first confirmed finding of the virus in the UK was on January 12, when 17 wild birds in Dorset were found to be infected with that number later rising to 31.
The strain is said to be different to that which affected people in China last year and Public Health England have advised the risk to public health is very low.
Now it has emerged that a further 13 dead wild birds have been discovered in Warwickshire and while tests are ongoing it is highly expected that this will be the same H5N6 strain of the virus which has been circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months.
Mr Gibbens said: "Following the latest finding of bird flu in wild birds in Warwickshire, we are extending our action to help prevent the virus spreading to poultry and other domestic birds.
"Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious virus."
Keepers with more than 500 birds will be required to take some extra biosecurity measures including restricting access to non-essential people, changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles.
The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.
The prevention zone means bird keepers across the country must:
- 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 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.
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