AVIAN FLU & SHOOTING – New cases confirmed in France – Update 02/04/09 10.15

02/04/09 – FRANCE CONFIRMS AVIAN FLU CASES

France has reported an outbreak of H5N1 LPAI in decoy ducks on a premises in Calvados and a second outbreak of H5 (not N1) in decoy ducks in Pas-de Calais.

The site in Calvados contains 45 ducks in two aviaries, covered with fencing and kept by one hunter. Two of ten ducks tested positive for H5N1 LPAI. The second premises in Pas-de-Calais contained 563 ducks in 32 adjacent aviaries owned by a hunter cooperative.

During routine surveillance, 5 ducks each from 3 of the 32 aviaries were tested for avian influenza. Two ducks from one aviary were positive, while the other ten ducks from the two aviaries were negative. Both the infected premises have been placed under surveillance and biosecurity has been increased, but other disease controls have not been applied and the affected birds were not culled (European Commission 2009).

05/03/09 – AVIAN FLU CONFIRMED AT TWO POULTRY FARMS IN EAST ANGLIA

Further laboratory tests have now confirmed that the H6N1 avian influenza virus present at two poultry premises in East Anglia is of low pathogenicity.

This means that the routine restrictions put in place while the investigations were ongoing are no longer required and have now been lifted as the presence of a statutory notifiable disease has been ruled out.

More information is available at the following link: http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2009/090305a.htm

Routine veterinary investigations into notifiable diseases occur on a regular basis. It is a legal requirement to notify the Animal Health agency of the possibility of such diseases whenever these cannot be ruled out by a vet or an animal keeper as part of the diagnosis of illness in animals or birds.

01/02/09 – NEW CASES IN THE EU

The French authorities have recently reported an outbreak of Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) on a duck breeding farm in Vendee region. Preliminary testing confirmed the virus to be of H5 type (but not N1). A number of disease control measures are now in place, including a 1 km restriction zone preventing the movement of eggs, chicks or adult birds unless authorised.

The Vendee has a large number of game farms, which in the coming months will supply the UK market. If a shoot or rearing operation in the UK had a confirmed case of LPAI, all captive birds on the premises would be slaughtered and any eggs would be disposed of under official supervision.

BASC recommends members support their local traditional game farm and source their eggs, chicks or poults from within the UK.

There have also been recent cases of H5N3 reported on turkey/poultry farms in Germany and Poland.

BASC ADDITIONAL ADVICE

BASC advises that anyone who keeps birds and who are not already registered on the Great Britain poultry register should do so – more information on the register can be found by clicking here.

Particular care should also be taken with biosecurity. BASC urges members to report any abnormal behaviour or die-offs of wild birds particularly wildfowl, gulls and starlings to the Defra helpline – 08459 33 55 77.

It is vital that all bird keepers in the UK continue to practice the highest levels of biosecurity and be vigilant for any signs of disease. If you are concerned about the health of your birds you should seek advice from your veterinary surgeon. If you suspect that your birds have avian influenza, you should report it to your local Animal Health Office immediately.

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