Jersey's Chief Vet brings in new restrictions to limit the spread of bird flu

  • Alistair Breed explaining how to keep good bio-security measures

Jersey's Chief Veterinary Officer has introduced formal restrictions and bio-security measures to limit the spread of bird flu across the island.

It comes after further examination from the dead red-breasted goose at Jersey Zoo tested positive for Avian Influenza.

Mr Breed said "Following the confirmation, we are now bringing into force these formal biosecurity requirements to limit the contact local flocks have with other birds and so reduce the risk of further cases."

More detailed guidance will be published tomorrow (7 March) but the main requirements include:

  • Poultry and other captive birds are housed or otherwise kept separate from wild birds

  • Poultry and other captive birds are provided with feed and water which is not accessible to wild birds

  • No bird gatherings take place, including (but not limited to) bird fairs, markets, shows and exhibitions

  • No game birds are released

The requirements come into force with immediate effect at locations less than 3km from Jersey Zoo, while premises further than 3km away have until 00:01 on Friday 11 March to comply.

Bird Flu: Your Questions Answered

What is bird flu?

Avian flu is highly infectious and mainly affects birds, although in very rare cases it can transfer to humans and other animals.

The virus is spread through bodily fluids such as saliva and droppings.

It is often passed on by wild birds that migrate from Europe during winter and can be very dangerous for poultry and domestic birds.

What risk is there to humans?

There is a very low risk of humans catching bird flu.

It usually requires close and regular contact with an infected bird.

A man from South West England was infected in January 2022 but public health officials stressed the risk to the wider public remains very low.

How can we stop it spreading?

Members of the public are being asked not to touch unwell or dead birds.

There are specific biosecurity safety measures that farmers are advised to follow, such as keeping birds inside and separating wild birds from domestic ones and poultry.

Jersey Zoo are also rolling out extra measures - geese that usually roam free have been moved to a special enclosure and visitors can no longer enter the Zoo's aviaries as they have been closed to the public.

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He added "While it will clearly depend on how the Avian Influenza situation develops in the Island, I would expect these measures to remain in place for at least one month. In compliance with our international obligations, we have also informed the World Animal Health Organisation of the confirmation of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1".

In February, two dead wild birds tested positive for bird flu on the island.

He also reiterated that the risk to humans is low as this type of disease 'very rarely' effects people but he is working with the Public Health Department to ensure of public safety.