Avian influenza (bird flu) in winter 2016 to 2017

The latest situation on avian influenza (bird flu) in the UK and advice on how to reduce the risks.

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a disease of birds. The H5N8 strain of the disease has been found in the UK in farmed and wild birds since December 2016.

Public Health England advises the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said there is no food safety risk for UK consumers.

Current restrictions

There are currently no restrictions in place at any premises.

If you keep poultry and captive birds

There is an ongoing risk of bird flu so we strongly encourage all bird keepers to follow industry standard best practice on biosecurity. This includes minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy, feeding birds indoors or undercover, and keeping ducks and geese totally separate from chickens and other species.

All disease control measures are kept under review based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice.

• Read and download our advice poster for keepers of poultry (PDF, 1 page)

Reporting suspicion of disease in your poultry

For advice and guidance on what to do if you keep poultry or to report suspicion of disease in animals, call the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301 or read our detailed guidance on avian influenza.

Reporting dead wild birds

Members of the public should report dead wild birds - such as swans, geese, ducks, gulls or birds of prey - to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. Defra will then collect some of these birds and test them to help us understand how the disease is distributed geographically and in different types of bird.

Welfare of housed birds

If your birds are housed it is especially important to keep a close eye on them in warmer weather to ensure they remain comfortable and healthy.

Check them regularly and ensure they have enough water and sufficient ventilation. You should monitor the maximum temperature and take action if it significantly exceeds 21ºC for adult birds or around 13ºC for adult ducks.

• Read more detailed advice on the welfare of housed birds (PDF, 19 pages).

Cases of avian influenza since December 2016

The H5N8 strain of the disease has been confirmed at farms in Northumberland, Suffolk, Lancashire and Lincolnshire, and in backyard flocks in Lancashire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire and Carmarthenshire.

Where avian influenza has been confirmed, we put restrictions around the site - a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance zone - to limit the spread of disease, and we investigate the source and possible spread of the infection.

As well as being found in several different types of poultry, the same strain of the virus has also been found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales. We publish a list of cases where we find avian influenza in wild birds.

We publish details of the situation across Europe in the latest veterinary outbreak assessment.