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Defra reduces influenza risk

Defra will monitor risk levels as the autumn migration continues.

Defra’s downgrading of the avian influenza (AI) risk follows a reduction in the number of findings of AI in wild birds. 

The risk has been reduced from high (“event occurs very often”) to medium (“event occurs regularly”). However, Defra said risk levels for both wild birds and poultry would be continually reviewed and may increase again as autumn migration continues. 

During the current outbreak, which started in October 2021, over 1,500 wild birds have returned positive results from over 360 locations and 61 different species. 

Dominic Boulton, game sector representative on the Defra National Avian Disease Core Group, told ST: “We have to view Defra’s downgrading of the risk posed by AI from high to medium with caution. It is fair to say that the severity of the AI outbreak has eased since earlier in the year. We are not out of the woods, but there is evidence to suggest that the wild bird population has built up some kind of tolerance to the disease. 

“We must not become complacent and there is still a vital need for rigorous biosecurity measures”.