DEFRA steps up bird flu surveillance

DEFRA urged wild bird reserves to increase surveillance of dead birds in the South-east of England, East Anglia and Northamptonshire on Friday (27 July).

This move comes in response to the recent flurry of avian flu H5N1 outbreaks in France, Germany and the Czech Republic.

DEFRA selected the three areas, in consultation with ornithological experts, as key areas in England where migratory wild birds from Europe will arrive.  

Chief veterinary officer, Debby Reynolds, stated that although current control and monitoring measures highlighted that the risk of avian flu to the UK remained low it had increased.

“We will continue to monitor the disease situation and we are keeping our levels of surveillance under review.  We are also very grateful for the valuable voluntary contribution from the organisations who we work in partnership with to carry out this surveillance work,” said Dr Reynolds. 

The key species under surveillance are gulls, ducks, geese, swans and waders.  Contact the DEFRA Helpline on 08459 33 55 77 to report any sightings of dead wild birds.