The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed that highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu) HPAI H5N1 has been identified in captive birds in West Sussex.

Defra has said that all affected birds on the premises, near Angmering, Arun, West Sussex, will be humanely culled.

A 3km captive bird monitoring controlled zone is now in force.

According to Defra there have 187 confirmed cases of highly pathogenic bird flu since October 1, 2022.

This includes:

  • 156 cases in England
  • 22 cases in Scotland
  • 8 cases in Wales
  • 1 case in Northern Ireland

Last month the highly pathogenic bird flu was identifed in commercial poultry in premises near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire. and a second premises near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.

Highly pathogenic bird flu was also confirmed by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland in black headed gulls in four locations in June in Belfast Harbour, Comber, Coalisland and Magherafelt.

DAERA vets have updated the ongoing Veterinary Risk Assessment (VRA). 

“There is now an increasing likelihood of incursion into kept flocks, albeit with a high level of uncertainity, in consideration of the relatively limited number of reports,” DAERA warned.

The department had previously lifted the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) in Northern Ireland on June, 2.

Bird flu

However DAERA has warned that  bird flu is “a constant and dynamic threat” and has urged all bird and poultry keepers to step up biosecurity measures and remain vigilant against the latest threat.

In a separate development the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has detailed in its latest communicable disease threats report that the chief veterinary officer of Poland has announced that a total of 16 samples from domestic cats from different cities in Poland have tested positive for A H5N1 flu virus.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) has issued a statement calling for more investigations, and said that neither exposure to sick wild birds nor feline-to-feline transmission are potential routes of transmission.