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UK declares Avian Influenza Prevention Zone
Keepers with 500 birds or more will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites.

Bird keepers across England, Scotland and Wales now legally obliged to follow strict biosecurity measures.

The UK's chief veterinary officer has announced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Britain following several confirmed cases in captive and wild birds.

Under the AIPZ, keepers with 500 birds or more will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites. Workers will also be required to change their clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures, and site vehicles will need cleaned and disinfected daily.

The move was announced by the UK Government on Wednesday evening (11 November), following discussions with Scottish and Welsh Governments to introduce national prevention zones at the same time.

The UK's chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “I have today declared a national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) legislating for actions all bird keepers must take to help prevent the disease spreading to more poultry and other domestic birds.

“Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”

She added: “Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese are also urged to strengthen their biosecurity measures in order to prevent further outbreaks of avian influenza in the UK.”

The introduction of the AIPZ follows two separate, unrelated cases of avian flu confirmed in Cheshire and Kent last week. Highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu was also confirmed at a broiler breeder farm in Herefordshire on Wednesday (11 November).

A small number of wild birds in Gloucestershire, Devon and Dorset have also tested positive for the disease. 

The introduction of the AIPZ follows a decision to raise the risk level for avian influenza incursion in wild birds in Great Britain from ‘medium’ to ‘high’.

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MSD Animal Health announces three new research bursaries

News Story 1
 MSD Animal Health has announced three new research bursaries for veterinary surgeons in the areas of swine, poultry and aquaculture. The bursaries, worth up to £4,000, add to MSD's existing bursaries in ruminant and companion animal research.

Projects are expected to be completed within one to two years, and the proposals will be judged by university academics to ensure that assessment remains independent. Full project design and application guidelines, including the specific disease/subject areas, can be found on MSD Animal Health's website

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VMD and VPS announce joint open information day

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) have announced a joint open information day covering topics such as veterinary medicines regulations, antimicrobial resistance, scientific advice and novel therapies.

Taking place on Wednesday 18 November, the virtual event will take the form of a series of pre-recorded webinars and a 'Slido' Q&A session. Links to the webinars and full instructions on how to use Slido will be available on gov.uk on 18 November. To join the mailing list for the event, email director.support@vmd.gov.uk