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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Avian flu (birds)

Latest situation

The Prevention Zone which included the requirement to house birds or keep them netted from wild birds was lifted at 00.01 on Monday 9 May 2022, however, we encourage all bird keepers to continue with high biosecurity standards.

In the unfortunate but likely event that Avian Influenza virus detection in Jersey becomes a yearly occurrence, or there is an increased risk of disease from neighbouring countries, it is advised that poultry keepers give thought to how they could permanently house their birds when housing restrictions are in place.

Previous outbreaks

Avian Influenza H5N1 was confirmed in the carcass of a red-breasted goose at Jersey Zoo at the beginning of March 2022 and following this, disease zones were declared. The Control Zone (3km Protection Zone around the location of the Positive case, and Surveillance Zone covering the rest of the island), came into effect on 3 March 2022 and a Prevention Zone was declared over the entire island on 5 March 2022.

The Control Zone (3km Protection Zone and Surveillance Zone) was lifted on Thursday 21 April 2022. 

We previously sent a letter on 5 May 2022 to all registered poultry keepers to inform them that the Prevention Zone was being lifted.

Letter to poultry keepers sent 5 May 2020

Declared zones and requirements

The Control Zone (3km Protection Zone and Surveillance Zone) has been lifted as of 00.01 on Thursday 21 April 2022 and with it the need for licences to move birds and mammals kept on premises with birds.

The Prevention Zone (requirement to keep birds separate from wild birds) has been lifted as of 00:01 on Monday 9 May 2022. 

General guidance

Self assessment biosecurity checklist

Protect your birds from bird flu

Any very sick birds or unexplained deaths must be assessed by your vet. By law, suspicion of bird flu is notifiable and can affect poultry movement and trade.

Protect your birds poster

Cleaning

Clean footwear before and after visiting your birds. Keep areas clean and tidy and regularly disinfect hard surfaces. Humanely control rats and mice.

Feeding

Place your birds' food and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds. Remove spilled feed regularly.

Fencing

Keep your birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around the outdoor areas they access.

Register

To register your birds visit our poultry registration, identification and movement page.

Wild birds

A possible vector of avian influenza is migrating wild birds. These birds mingle with domestic poultry during their travels and can spread the disease by depositing bodily fluids or through physical contact. The risk of infection to birds is expected to reduce as migratory birds return home during Spring. 

The wild birds that usually migrate to our shores travel here from northern and central Europe and keepers should remain vigilant towards protecting their poultry and captive birds from migratory wild birds returning in Autumn.

Advice for the public

We would advise the public not to handle any dead or unwell wild birds.

However, if the public need to dispose of dead wild birds on their property, please use protective gloves when picking up and handling them. If protective gloves are not available, a leak-proof plastic bag can be used as a makeshift glove to pick up the bird.

The first bag, together with any gloves that are used, should then be placed in a second leak-proof plastic bag (double bagged), tied, and disposed of in the normal household waste (lidded bin outside).

Dead wild birds can be buried on your property but not in a plastic bag. The depth of the burial hole must be sufficient to prevent animals scavenging and gaining access to it, at least 60cm deep. The location must not be near any watercourses, or likely to contaminate local water supplies.

Alternative vectors

Alternatively, indirect vectors such as people, equipment and vehicles may introduce infective material to flocks in the Island.
People travelling to Jersey from infected countries where they have had contact with birds should take extra care, however this method of infection is much more likely once the disease has become established in the locality.

A poster will be displayed at the airport and harbour when the risk level is raised.

How the disease may be spread

It is important that all those working in the countryside, especially those who keep poultry, remain vigilant and report any unusual symptoms observed in the domestic or wild bird populations. 

Avian influenza is spread when an infected bird sheds the flu virus in its faeces, saliva or mucus discharges. Other birds become infected by eating or inhaling the virus.

Clinical signs

Clinical signs of the disease in poultry may simply be seen as a sudden high mortality, possibly preceded by severe depression or fever in the flock. Infected birds may show signs of conjunctivitis, runny eyes, sinusitis and swollen dark blue heads. 

Milder forms of the disease may be associated with non-specific respiratory problems, severe and sudden drop in egg production with an increase in soft shelled or shell-less eggs in laying birds.

Biosecurity

An effective farm biosecurity policy is the first defence in preventing infection. 

To reduce the contact of domestic poultry with wild birds, their foodstuffs and bedding should be stored away from wild bird access and birds should be fed and watered inside their housing.

Foot dips should be placed at poultry, domestic waterfowl and other captive bird housing or run entrances and exits, regularly refilled, and charged with an approved "Diseases of Poultry" disinfectant that you can source from local suppliers. 

Unauthorised visitors to the flock should be kept to a minimum with staff, vehicle and equipment movements between housing also minimised.

If vehicles must have access, make sure they are clean, and if equipment is shared, make sure it is cleansed and disinfected before and after use.

Dedicated protective clothing and washable boots should be provided for those in contact with the birds or their housing and visitors should wash their hands with an effective preparation prior to visiting the birds.

Buy feed from a mill or supplier that operates in accordance with Defra and Agricultural Industries Confederation Codes of Practice. Supply clean, fresh drinking water.

Be vigilant when purchasing new stock. Use reputable sources and isolate new birds and birds you have taken off your premises (for example, to a show).

Remove any spilled feed, litter and standing water to avoid attracting wild birds and vermin, and an effective vermin control program should be in place. Poultry houses also should be in a good state of repair to exclude the entry of wild birds and vermin.

Maintain a routine cleaning and disinfecting routine for your bird housing, cages, feed store and pathways leading to and from bird areas.

Many diseases, not only Avian influenza but also others like Newcastle disease, Salmonella and Campylobacter are spread by direct bird-to-bird contact through secretions and faeces, and indirectly through contaminated feed, water, equipment, boots etc. If in doubt about what to do, seek advice from your vet before continuing work in other houses and runs.

Be considerate of your neighbour's poultry or captive birds as we have a few large-scale poultry farmers and breeders of rare birds. By applying good Biosecurity measures this will help contain the potential spread of disease which in turn would prevent lengthy and ongoing housing requirements.

Full details of the recommended biosecurity measures that should be put in place will be circulated to registered poultry keepers.

Approved list of disinfectants on DEFRA website

Diagnosis

Prompt diagnosis of avian influenza will obviously be vital for the well being of the human and poultry populations of the Island. 

Poultry keepers must report any suspicious symptoms in their flocks immediately to their veterinary surgeon who will take the appropriate action. 

If you suspect avian influenza contact the Natural Environment.

Department surveillance

The Natural Environment is monitoring any unusual mortality in wild birds but would value the assistance of all those working in the countryside with this surveillance. 

It is advised that the general public should not pick up dead birds but leave them in-situ and report the location to the department. 

We continue to be interested in: 

  • ducks
  • geese
  • swans, where the risk of avian flu is highest in migratory waterfowl species
  • birds of prey
  • where 6 or more birds of any species, including Seagulls, are obviously ill or dying in one place
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