Avian influenza (bird flu) in winter 2016 to 2017

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

December 23
16:12 2016

We have brought together key information about avian influenza (bird flu) risks in this news story, which is regularly updated if the situation changes.

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a disease of birds.The H5N8 strain of the disease has been confirmed at a poultry farm in Lincolnshire and restrictions are in place. The same strain has also been found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales.

Risks to public health are very low and avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

We have taken several actions to reduce the risks. If you keep poultry whether on a commercial scale or simply a small backyard flock you are now required by law to keep them housed (under cover and kept separate from wild birds). We have banned gatherings of poultry across the UK.

All poultry keepers must continue to keep a close watch on the health of their birds, and put in place a high level of biosecurity precautions.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), or other dead wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey, to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.


On 23 December Defra confirmed H5N8 bird flu in dead wild wigeons in Somerset and Leicestershire. The Scottish Government confirmed the disease in a wild peregrine falcon in Dumfries and Galloway.

On 22 December the Welsh Government confirmed a case of the H5N8 bird flu virus in a dead wild wigeon in Carmarthenshire, Wales.

On 16 December we confirmed a case of the H5N8 bird flu virus in turkeys on a poultry farm near Louth in Lincolnshire. All birds at the premises have died or have been humanely culled to limit the risk of disease spread.

Find more information

These links provide further guidance to poultry keepers and to the public.

Government announcements

We have made several recent announcements:

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