UK avian influenza free, but producers invited to participate in workshop

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Producers have been invited to register for a free avian flu workshop as the UK is finally declared disease free.

While significant progress has been made by industry and government in tackling AI epidemics, the workshop will explore all of the

While significant progress has been made by industry and government in tackling AI epidemics, the workshop will explore all of the “weak” link factors commonly encountered in cases of primary introduction of AI in the herds. Photo: Ruud Ploeg

The workshop took place on September 13 and was designed to inform participants about the background to predicting the future risk of avian influenza outbreaks, covering its limitations and sharing information on what has been learned from previous seasons of ‘IA.

While significant progress has been made by industry and government in tackling AI epidemics in recent years, particularly in terms of communication, disease management, and the absence of secondary spread, the workshop explored all the “weak” link factors commonly encountered in cases of primary introduction of AI into herds. He also took into account the experience in the UK and Europe with regard to non-reportable AI as a significant cause of disease and explored the opportunities and challenges for better control of avian diseases at mandatory declaration after Brexit, as well as the new OIE (World Organization for the Protection of Animal Health).

Stay alert for signs of bird flu

The event took place following the announcement by the UK’s chief veterinarian, Christine Middlemiss, that international standards have been met to declare the country free from avian influenza. However, she reiterated the calls to all poultry farmers to remain vigilant for signs of the disease. Highly pathogenic avian influenza continues to circulate in wild and captive birds in Europe and as winter approaches the risk of migratory wild birds flying to the UK in the coming months will mean that risks to domestic poultry are likely to increase.

Between November 2020 and March 2021, 26 cases of avian influenza were confirmed in farmed poultry and wild birds in the UK. In all cases, movement restrictions have been put in place to limit the spread of the disease and extensive investigations have been carried out into the source and possible spread of the infection.

Measures

The government has also introduced UK-wide measures to protect poultry from infection by wild birds, including a requirement to temporarily house birds and a ban on gatherings of birds. “The past year has been very difficult for anyone raising poultry and birds in captivity and I want to thank everyone for their efforts to help us contain the disease. This is an important step that will contribute to our efforts to reopen export markets. Although we are now free from avian influenza in this country, there is a constant risk of the disease returning by wild birds and this is expected to increase as winter approaches, temperatures drop and more migratory birds begin. to arrive in the UK, ”she said.

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