Bird flu was detected in 17 wild waterfowl at a site in Dorset last week, leading the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to place a prevention zone around the affected area, close to the village of Abbotsbury.
It is the first confirmed finding of the virus in the UK this winter and tests have shown it is closely related to the H5N6 strain that has been infecting wild birds across Europe in recent months. Defra says the outbreak does not pose a threat to food safety and Public Health England says the risk to human health is ‘very low’.
Nonetheless, Jersey is following Defra advice to bird owners and poultry farmers to minimise contact between domestic poultry and wild birds.
‘This is similar to last year – we know the virus can be spread by wild birds, so owners of poultry need to think about maintaining good biosecurity to reduce the risk of the virus spreading to their birds,’ Environment’s veterinary officer, Theo Knight-Jones, said.
‘Although this strain has not caused human disease, outbreaks in domestic poultry can cause high mortality among birds and result in wider economic impact through restrictions on poultry trade.
‘If you have any concerns about the health of your poultry, please get in touch with your vet,’ he added.
Members of the public are asked to report sightings of dead wild birds such as swans, geese, seagulls and birds of prey to the States veterinary office at Howard Davis Farm on 441600.
Information on how to reduce contact between domestic poultry and wild birds to minimise the risk of avian flu transmission can be found on the Defra pages of the UK government website, gov.uk.