Avian Influenza (bird flu)
The latest situation on avian influenza (bird flu) and actions to reduce the risks.
We have brought together key information about avian influenza (bird flu) risks in this news story, which is regularly updated if the situation changes.
Avian influenza (bird flu) is a disease of birds. The H5N8 strain of the disease has been confirmed at a poultry farm in Lincolnshire and restrictions are in place. The same strain has also been found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales.
Risks to public health are very low and avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
We have taken several actions to reduce the risks. If you keep poultry – whether on a commercial scale or simply a small backyard flock – you are now required by law to keep them “housed” (under cover and kept separate from wild birds). We have banned gatherings of poultry across the UK.
All poultry keepers must continue to keep a close watch on the health of their birds, and put in place a high level of biosecurity precautions.
Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), or other dead wild birds such as gulls or birds of prethe Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. We 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.
Find more information
These links provide further guidance to poultry keepers and to the public.
- Defra’s comprehensive guidance: avian influenza (bird flu): latest situation; how to spot it and report it (also includes advice on biosecurity
- Food Standards Agency advice: avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers
- Public Health England: the risk to public health from the virus is very low - more on avian influenza in humans
- Health and Safety Executive advice on protecting workers from avian influenza
- latest veterinary outbreak assessment on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 in the UK and Europe
- results of findings of H5N8 in wild birds in Great Britain