Newcastle Disease was confirmed in pheasants on an estate in Surrey on Friday 15th July. The Government is continuing to take balanced precautionary action to control the disease. The Chief Veterinary Officer, Debby Reynolds has reported that by yesterday evening over 5,000 pheasants had been culled humanely.
The Government has activated its contingency plan. Both National and Local Disease Control Centres are in action to ensure effective management of the outbreak.
Veterinary Officers are continuing to visit poultry premises in the area to check for signs of disease and poultry keepers across the country have increased their vigilance. Currently there is no evidence of disease spread from the initial infected premises. Neither is there any evidence of any imports of infected birds to other premises in the UK.
Government advice to keepers is to maintain high levels of biosecurity, to notify any suspicion of disease and to consider in consultation with their veterinary advisers whether to vaccinate.
Debby Reynolds, the Chief Veterinary Officer said:
"The UK and its countryside remains open for business. We are pursuing evidence based disease control strategies and putting in place effective controls. There is currently no need to restrict the release of pheasants into the countryside or to close footpaths outside of the immediate area of the infected premises.
"Biosecurity is, of course, the watchword. There can be no place for complacency. With the close co-operation of our stakeholders, including the Country & Landowners Association, we are seeking to ensure the disease does not spread. Sensible precautions must be taken. That is why we are recommending that pheasants and partridges should not be taken to the Game Fair in Leicestershire this weekend."
Further information about Newcastle disease can be found on the Defra website and on our helpline 08459 335577.