Avian Influenza

As well as the outbreaks in Swans in Russia and Kazakhstan, already reported, a new outbreak in Russia has already been reported, this time in commercial poultry.

About 14,000 birds died and 282,000 were culled to halt the spread.

At the same time, an outbreak in Swans in The Netherlands has resulted in the Agriculture Minister ordering Dutch poultry farmers to keep their birds indoors. *

How long this will last is unclear, but if it is longer than 16 days, they will lose their free-range status.

The strain in all cases was H5N8.

The UK Chief Veterinary Officers have raised the alert level from low to medium, but they issue the following advice:-

  • Keep the area where the birds live clean and tidy, control rats and mice and regularly clean and disinfect hard surfaces.
  • Clean footwear before and after visits
  • Place birds feed and water in fully-enclosed area, protected from wild birds and remove any spilled feed regularly
  • Put fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limit access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl
  • Where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species.

Of course, all of these, and more, are covered in the “Laid in Britain” Code of Practice regulations on biosecurity.


* Late News – The Netherlands cull 35,700 broilers with H5N8.

There are 25 more poultry farms in the area.

An isolate of H5N8 has been found on a broiler breeder unit near Frodsham in Cheshire. All 13,000 birds are to be culled and 3km and 10km temporary control zones have been put in place.

It is not related to the H5N2 isolate found in 480 birds on a unit, near Deal in Kent, which rescues and houses a variety of animals and birds. A 1km Low Pathogenicity Avian influenza Restricted Zone has been placed around the unit, and the birds culled.

The Cheshire isolate may be related to the H5N8 outbreaks in Europe.