Welsh Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has established an emergency coordination centre to help Wales deal with the current threat of avian influenza (bird flu).

In a written statement published today, Wednesday, December 8, Griffiths said:

“I have reviewed our ability to respond within government against competing pressures, and I have decided to stand up a 'lite' format Emergency Coordination Centre for Wales (ECCW).

The ECCW ‘lite’ will ensure my officials can continue to provide a coordinated and effective response to the disease threat throughout this outbreak.

“It will allow them the ability to better manage and prioritise resources, share responsibilities and communicate with all concerned.

“Having the ECCW ‘lite’ established will allow us to ensure we can react to the changing circumstances promptly and continue to provide an appropriate and proportionate disease response.”

Avian influenza in Wales

Avian influenza (avian flu) was first reported in a backyard flock in Wrexham on November 1. Since then, two more cases have been confirmed; one near Gaerwen, Isle of Anglesey and one near Crickhowell, Powys.

However, avian flu is progressing at a much more rapid pace in England.

According to Griffiths, as of December 8, at 1:00p.m, highly pathogenic bird flu has been confirmed in poultry or other captive birds at 36 premises across Great Britain.

On top of this, there have been over 276 findings in wild birds in 80 separate locations – making it now the largest ever UK outbreak of avian influenza, according to Griffiths.

The minister also noted that there is no immediate sign of the situation improving.