The UK's chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss is urging all poultry keepers not to be complacent and to continue following biosecurity measures to protect birds and help stop the spread of avian influenza (bird flu).

The UK is currently tackling its largest-ever outbreak of bird flu with nearly 100 cases confirmed across the country since the start of November.

"We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease including introducing housing measures. However, we are still seeing a number of bird flu cases both on commercial farms and in backyard birds right across the country," said Middlemiss.

"Many poultry keepers have excellent biosecurity standards but the number of cases we are seeing suggests that not enough is being done to keep bird flu out.

"Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

"The avian flu outbreak has not gone away and implementing scrupulous biosecurity remains absolutely critical," she continued.

"You must continue to regularly clean and disinfect your footwear and clothes before entering enclosures, stop your birds mixing with any wild birds and only allow visitors that are strictly necessary. It is your actions that will help keep your birds safe."

Latest situation

The latest confirmation of the disease was over the weekend on Saturday, February 26. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Elmswell, Mid Suffolk, Suffolk.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone has been put in place around the premises and all birds on the infected premises have been humanely culled.

The day before on Friday, February 25, HPAI H5N1 was confirmed at a premises near Ledbury, North Herefordshire, Herefordshire.

As above, a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone was put in place.