The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) has today (7 December 2016) issued advice to Island poultry keepers following the imposition of Avian Influenza prevention zones in England and Scotland.
This action is in response to the increased concerns surrounding Avian Influenza H5N8 being identified in mainland Europe, primarily in water fowl.
This form of bird flu is not a significant risk to human health and there is no evidence of the disease in the Isle of Man.
The situation in Europe has arisen due to the seasonal movement of migratory birds on their normal flight paths across Europe from the east to warmer places in Southern Europe and Northern Africa for overwintering.
The Isle of Man is not a major route for these migrations. However, DEFA is advising that it would be sensible for our poultry keepers to take reasonable precautions to reduce the risk to domestic birds by preventing or reducing as much as possible, contact with wild birds. The advice includes:
- Keep all feed bins covered to prevent access by wild birds
- Do not encourage wild birds to feed or drink with domestic poultry
- In the case of turkeys, close off any outdoor runs in the short period before Christmas
- Anyone who feeds, handles, or contacts wild birds should change their clothing and disinfect before entering any domestic bird enclosure – if alternative personnel can be used, this would be best
- Ensure bird houses are secure and wild birds cannot enter, and rodent control programmes are kept up to date.
More information on the signs of Avian Influenza, the precautions for bird keepers, and approved disinfectants can be found on the DEFRA website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#about-avian-influenza
For detailed information on the reasons behind the perceived change in disease risk the DEFRA outbreak risk assessment can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/avian-influenza-bird-flu-in-europe