Wales’ chief veterinary officer (CVO), Dr Richard Irvine, has said it is “more important than ever” to maintain the very highest levels of biosecurity and to stay vigilant for avian influenza (bird flu).

The Welsh government has warned bird keepers to stay vigilant for bird flu and to maintain strict biosecurity measures throughout autumn and winter.

Bird keepers must keep their flocks safe by following stringent biosecurity measures and adhering to high levels of hygiene, it said.

While bird flu has continued to affect wild birds over the summer, the winter migration period brings a heightened risk to kept birds, the government said.

Irvine said vigilance and strict biosecurity measures provide the best protection against another large outbreak of the highly pathogenic disease.

“Rigorous and scrupulous hygiene and biosecurity measures offer the best protection for kept birds against avian influenza,” he said.

“Whether keepers have a few birds or a thousand, it is vital the very highest standards of biosecurity are maintained at all times.

“Vigilance is also key. It’s important you report any signs or suspicion of avian influenza in your flock immediately.”

The CVO also thanked birdkeepers for their efforts to date in keeping their flocks safe from bird flu.

Advice for Welsh keepers of poultry and captive birds on how to keep their flocks safe is available on the Welsh government’s website.

Bird flu in Wales and the rest of the UK

The latest case of bird flu reported in Wales was in April of this year at a site near Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Powys.

In the United Kingdom, there have been 207 confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 since October 1, 2022.

Eight of these cases have been confirmed in Wales.

160 of the cases were detected in England, 38 in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland.

There have been 294 cases of bird flu in England since the H5N1 outbreak started in October 2021.