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Bird Flu Updates

01/06/23: AIPZ in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the most recent Veterinary Risk Assessment (VRA) has concluded that the risk of notifiable avian influenza incursion into the NI poultry flock is low. However, this does not mean there is no risk.

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) and ban on poultry gatherings which has been in place since 17 October 2022 in Northern Ireland will be lifted from 00:01 on Friday 02 June 2023. All poultry and bird gatherings in Northern Ireland will be permitted from 02 June provided organisers comply with the provisions of General Licence available on the DAERA website. Although all mandatory restrictions will be lifted, the biosecurity requirements set out for the AIPZ should still be considered good practice. See the press notice for further information. 

Interactive Map

Fanciers can check where disease control zones and regional AIPZs are located in GB and if they are in a zone on the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) interactive map, and in Northern Ireland on DAERA’s interactive map.

High standards of biosecurity must be maintained by all fanciers as good practice for the health and welfare of their birds. Good biosecurity is an essential defence against diseases such as avian influenza and is key to limiting the spread of avian influenza in an outbreak.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) is in force across the UK.

  • In these areas it is a legal requirement for all fanciers to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.
  • Definitive requirements are set out in the relevant AIPZ Declarations. Separate AIPZ declarations have been made in each UK administration: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Biosecurity guidance and a biosecurity self-assessment checklist have been published by Defra to assist all bird keepers in instigating and maintaining good biosecurity including compliance with the mandatory AIPZ measures which, together with further updates on the latest avian influenza situation, can be found here.

For further information on cases, and details of the measures that apply in the disease control zones currently in force, click on the appropriate country below:

To receive immediate notification of new cases and updated zones in Britain, fanciers can sign up to the APHA’s Animal Disease alert subscription service – further details can be found here.

Outbreak Case Summary

In summary, since the first case confirmed in this outbreak on the 26 October 2021, 343 cases of avian influenza have been confirmed in the UK:

  • England: 289 cases of HPAI H5N1
  • Scotland: 32 cases of HPAI H5N1 and 1 case of LPAI H7N3
  • Wales: 15 cases of HPAI H5N1
  • Northern Ireland: 7 cases of HPAI H5N1

This is the largest ever UK outbreak of avian influenza (prior to this the largest number of cases was 26 cases in 2020/2021 and 13 cases in 2016/2017).

Fanciers must keep a close watch on their birds for any signs of disease, and seek prompt advice from a vet if they have any concerns. Clinical signs indicative of avian influenza must be reported in England to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact to the local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

The Avian Influenza Code of Practice, based on the legal requirements and agreed between the APHA, may be downloaded here. Every member and organisation should read the document, as it will provide clarity in respect of what can be done if your loft is situated within a disease control area.


31/05/23: Case Updates in England

Following successful completion of disease control activities and surveillance in the zones surrounding the premises near Cantley, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England (AIV 2023/28), the 3km protection zone has ended and the area that formed the protection zone becomes part of the 10km surveillance zone around this premises (effective from 11:15 on the 28 May 2023). 

Case Updates in Wales

Following successful completion of disease control activities and surveillance in the zones surrounding the following premises, the 3km protection zone around each premises has ended and the area that formed the protection zone becomes part of the respective 10km surveillance zone:



25/05/23: New Case in England

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 was confirmed on 24 May 2023 in commercial poultry at a second premises near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire (AIV 2023/31). A 3km protection zone and a 10 km surveillance zone have been declared around the premises.

[Individual case updates before this date have been removed to keep the length of this article down. To see the latest active zones in England, refer to the the APHA’s interactive map and case list.]


23/05/23: Consultation on proposed new registration rules for all bird keepers in Great Britain

Defra and the Welsh and Scottish Governments’ public GB-wide consultation on proposed registration requirement for all bird keepers closes on 31st May. Have you had your say yet? See the consultation details here.


28/04/23: New Guidance – Avian Influenza and Influenza of Avian Origin

To support the Notifiable Avian Disease Control Strategy for Great Britain and the Mitigation Strategy for Avian Influenza in Wild Birds in England and Wales, new guidance on case definitions, diagnostic testing and reporting obligations for avian influenza and influenza of avian origin have been published by Defra, Welsh Government and Scottish Government and are available here.

Avian influenza and influenza of avian origin: diagnostic testing, controls and reporting obligations 

This technical guidance is for private laboratories, organisations and individuals in Great Britain interested in testing samples from animals for Influenza A virus. It explains your obligations and the requirements you must adhere to regarding laboratory biosafety, containment and reporting to the competent authority.

This guidance covers:

  • who can have or work with material suspected of containing or known to contain Influenza A virus
  • where samples from animals can undergo diagnostic testing for Influenza A virus or antibodies to Influenza A virus
  • notification and reporting requirements
  • the role of the competent authority and designated laboratories
  • Defra’s international reporting obligations
  • how to report non-compliance and how this is enforced or regulated


18/04/23: Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Housing Measures Lifted

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone housing measures for poultry and captive birds have now been lifted, but the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone mandatory biosecurity measures remain in place across Great Britain.

Ensure you follow the enhanced mandatory biosecurity guidance as the risk of avian influenza continues. More information is available on GOV.UK, GOV.SCOT, GOV.WALES and DAERA. Keepers with any welfare concerns about their birds should speak to their vet.

If you fall within a Protection Zone or Captive Bird (Monitoring) Control Zone you are still required to house your birds. Use the interactive map to check if you are in a zone.


06/04/23: Risk Levels

The risk of poultry exposure to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in Great Britain:

  • has been reduced from high (event occurs very often) (with low uncertainty) to medium (event occurs regularly) (with high uncertainty) where there are substantial biosecurity breaches and poor biosecurity
  • remains assessed as low (event is rare but does occur) (with high uncertainty) where good biosecurity is applied

The risk of HPAI H5 in wild birds in Great Britain also remains assessed as high (the event occurs very often).

Further information on the evidence which supports these risk levels can be found in our risk and outbreak assessments.


08/03/23: Consultation launched on new registration rules for all bird keepers in Great Britain

Yesterday, Defra and the Welsh and Scottish Governments launched a joint 12-week public GB-wide consultation on proposed registration requirement for all bird keepers as part of their work to tackle avian influenza. See the press release here and the consultation details here. The consultation closes at 23:45 on 31st May 2023.


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