Nottinghamshire still a high risk area for bird flu

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The county will remain on high alert for bird flu until at least the end of April, government officials say.

Restrictions were meant to be lifted at the end of February however a new map from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs shows wetland areas across the county are still considered to be high risk.

The highest risk areas are in North Nottinghamshire/Bassetlaw.

H5N8, or avian flu, is spread from wild birds, as well as from infected kept birds, which is why people who keep poultry are currently required to take action to try to avoid contact between poultry and wild birds – either direct, bird-to-bird contact, or indirect contact via the environment, where disease can be spread through things like contaminated bird droppings.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: “Effective disease control will always be our priority. H5N8 continues to circulate in wild birds and we must all continue to do everything we can to reduce the risk of disease. All keepers across the country must follow strict mandatory disease prevention measures.

“Based on clear scientific evidence, the risk from wild birds is too high in some areas of England to rely on biosecurity measures alone.

That’s why we are requiring birds in Higher Risk Areas to be housed or protected from wild bird contact by netting.

“We believe this is the best approach to control disease, protect birds’ welfare and ensure consumers can buy free range products.

As with any disease control measures these will be kept under review based on the latest situation and up-to-date scientific advice.”

The risk of disease across the country remains high and measures are likely to be in place until at least the end of April. Keepers in higher risk areas must continue to keep birds housed or netted. This is because, based on extensive scientific advice,

DEFRA believe the risk from wild birds in these areas to be higher.

These areas are close to large bodies of water where wild waterfowl congregate.