Rural – Jersey Country Life Magazine

BIRD FLU: CHIEF VET INTRODUCES RESTRICTIONS

Jersey’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Alistair Breed, is introducing formal restrictions and biosecurity measures requiring keepers to prevent their birds from having contact with wild birds.

It follows further examination results from the dead red-breasted goose from Jersey Zoo, which the government confirmed on Friday had tested positive for Avian Influenza (bird flu), which have now been able to show the virus type as HPAI H5N1.

Further detailed guidance will follow,  but the main biosecurity requirements require the Island’s keepers to take all appropriate and practicable steps to ensure that:

*poultry and other captive birds are housed or otherwise kept separate from wild birds;

*poultry and other captive birds are provided with feed and water which is not accessible to wild birds;

*no bird gatherings take place, including (but not limited to) bird fairs, markets, shows and exhibitions;

*no game birds are released;

The requirements come into force with immediate effect at locations less than 3km from Jersey Zoo, while premises further than 3km away have until 00:01 on Friday 11 March to comply.

Alistair Breed said: ‘Confirmation of this type of Avian Influenza was expected, as this is the same strain being found in the UK and France. Following the confirmation, we are now bringing into force these formal biosecurity requirements to limit the contact local flocks have with other birds and so reduce the risk of further cases.

‘While it will clearly depend on how the Avian Influenza situation develops in the Island, I would expect these measures to remain in place for at least one month.

‘In compliance with our international obligations, we have also informed the World Animal Health Organisation of the confirmation of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1.’

In February, two dead wild birds (buzzards) tested positive for bird flu in Jersey.

The UK Health Security Agency has said that Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds and advises that the risk to public health from bird flu is low. The public are advised not to handle unwell or dead wild birds.

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