Defra has updated its biosecurity guidance for poultry keepers following the outbreak of avian influenza on a duck farm in East Yorkshire.
The highly contagious form creates new strains, and while there is a “constant risk” one of these may spread easily among people, says Defra, there is no evidence it has been able to spread directly between people.
According to Defra, avian ‘flu spreads from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces, and wild birds are one possible source of the virus. The department is therefore advising poultry keepers to keep their birds away from those in the wild.
BVA president John Blackwell welcomed the updated advice, he said: “BVA welcomes Defra’s reinforcement of the guidance to poultry keepers following the confirmation of avian flu in a wildfowl in Germany.
“The advice emphasises the importance of maintaining the highest biosecurity standards during an outbreak of avian flu, including protecting domestic poultry flocks from the risk of contact with wild birds. Poultry should be housed where possible and kept away from standing water, with food and water supplies protected.
“BVA would encourage poultry keepers to work with their local vets and take their advice on appropriate biosecurity measures if in any doubt.”
Biosecurity guidance can be found on the Defra website.