Kent County Council has issued a warning regarding the spread of bird flu (Avian influenza) and the dangers around it.
They confirm that bird flu is circulating in seabirds and other wildlife around Kent and to be alert to it. They advise that if you see a dead bird or other dead animal where the cause of death is unclear, do not touch it or move it and ensure you keep your pets away from it.
They also advise that if you find a dead bird on public land, you should contact your local District or Borough Council to get it removed. Although it is becoming harder to even get your bins emptied these days, so what are the chances of the council sending someone out to scoop up a dead bird?
Avian influenza is a notifiable animal disease. These are are animal diseases that you’re legally obliged to report to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), even if you only suspect that an animal may be affected.
Notifiable diseases can be:
- endemic – already present in the UK, such as bovine TB
- exotic – not normally present in the UK, such as foot and mouth disease
Some endemic and exotic diseases are zoonotic which means they can pass between animals and humans, such as rabies.
The UK is currently facing its largest ever outbreak of avian influenza. It began in autumn 2021. Bird flu was confirmed in wild birds in Kent in February and June 2022. Not only have humans faced a pandemic, but the birds seem to be getting their own dose of a disease too!
An Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) is in place across Great Britain since 3rd November 2021. The AIPZ means that all poultry and other captive bird keepers must take extra measures to ensure biosecurity to help protect flocks, including regularly disinfecting equipment and to promptly report any possible cases. It is not necessary to house birds, although poultry and other captive birds must be housed if they are in a specific protected zone.
If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek advice from your vet straight away.
You should also register your poultry, even if only kept as pets, so you can be contacted during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds. Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon (bred for meat), partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.