DEFRA’S wild bird surveillance scheme has found highly pathogenic H5N1 in wild birds across the UK, prompting warnings of a challenging season for poultry keepers.

See also: H5N1 avian influenza – what is the current outlook for this winter in the UK?

The latest report says ten wild birds were found with AI last week.

They were in Wrexham (five pheasants), one in Fife and Edinburgh, Scotland, and two in Lancashire, and are the first detections in wild birds since early August.

The five pheasants are presumed to be the source of the outbreak in a backyard flock of birds H5N1 avian influenza confirmed near Wrexham, North Wales.

Week 43Wrexham, WalesPheasant5
Preston, LancashireCurlew1
Kirkaldy, Fife, ScotlandUnspecified gull1
Edinburgh, ScotlandMute swan1
LancashireWhooper swan1
LancashireGreylag goose1
Source: Defra

Testing has since found it was highly pathogenic H5N1, and the appropriate control zones have been put in place.

There has been a third case on a Dutch poultry farm, also H5 variant and probably highly pathogenic, making an incursion in East Anglia likely as wild birds continue their migration into the UK.

The geographical spread and frequency of cases make it likely that the government will soon introduce an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone.