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Animal diseases

Find advice and guidance on animal diseases here.

On this page:

Avian Influenza

Also known as Bird Flu or Avian Flu. This is a disease that currently affects the health of birds across Great Britain.

As of the 4th July 2023 the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone has been lifted. However, poultry shows and gatherings are still banned.

As a poultry keeper, you must make sure you are aware of the latest measures.

Birds in this context relate to:

  • Poultry;
  • and other captive birds means a bird kept in captivity that is not poultry. (Includes pet birds and a bird kept for shows, races, exhibitions, competitions, breeding or for sale.)

If you suspect a case of Avian Flu, please report it via the Defra Rural Services Helpline: 03000 200 301.

There is minimal risk to humans. However, anyone coming into contact with or keeping poultry we ask that simple hygiene measures should be done:

  • Wash hands and other exposed areas of the body.

This reduces the risk of transmission and mitigate any harm to those who have come into close contact with poultry.

For more details, visit: Avian influenza (bird flu) (GOV.UK).

Wild birds and kept birds

This advice from Defra, applies at all times where members of the public may come across dead birds.

Members of the public are asked to report incidents where they find:

  • Five or more dead birds;
  • in the same place;
  • and at the same time.

Please contact the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) helpline: 03000 200 301. (This is due to the UK's programme for surveillance for avian influenza in wild birds.)

If you find less than five dead birds, including garden birds, you do not need to call Defra. You should leave the bodies alone or follow the guidelines for disposal given by Defra.

For advice for keepers of birds/animals and for members of the public, visit: Biosecurity (GOV.UK).

Bovine TB (bTB)

TB is a serious disease of warm-blooded mammals arising from infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) complex. It is part of a group of closely related bacteria that includes those that cause TB in animals and humans.

BTB is one of the most complex animal health problems currently facing the farming industry in Britain. It is a notifiable disease. If you suspect the disease is present, report it to your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office.

  • For more about bTB, which includes Parish testing, visit: Bovine TB (GOV.UK).
  • For answers about routine TB testing intervals, visit: Animal Health (GOV.UK).

Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot and Mouth Disease is an infectious disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals, in particular cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer.

If you keep animals and suspect signs of notifiable disease, you must tell your local APHA Office straight away.

More support

Defra has a helpline for phone and email enquiries between 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday.

You can also contact: Environmental Health.

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