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Avian influenza


The Animal and Plant Health Agency Operates a Wild Bird Surveillance programme for Avian Influenza to detect incursion of Avian Influenza into UK.

The public and land occupiers, plus management of certain bird reserves are encouraged to report sightings of certain wild bird deaths in order that they may be collected for analysis in the APHA avian disease investigation laboratories. Guidance for the public and further information is available on the goverment website.


When a wild bird carcass is found to be positive for notifiable strains of Avian Influenza a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) is appointed in the APHA Delivery Area to co-ordinate the information flow regarding any further developments. The SPOC contacts UK Health Security Agency (who will already have had notification from the Respiratory Diseases Unit) since Avian Influenza is a zoonotic disease and there may be public health interventions for human contacts. The SPOC also informs the local authority where the carcass was collected. Internally the SPOC advises the APHA Contingency Planning Division, The Wild Bird Surveillance Lead and Policy colleagues.

The SPOC gathers further information on the site of collection, provides biosecurity guidance and establishes lines of communication with stakeholders providing situation reports on any further carcass collections or reported sightings in support of Duty vets and Ready to Go on call (RTG) vets who may get out of hours calls.

Online facility to report wild bird deaths

On 13 December 2022 Defra launched a new online reporting system to be used by the public to report dead wild birds in Great Britain, as part of the Government response to the ongoing avian influenza outbreak.

The new online system is available to use 24/7, making it simpler and quicker for the public to report dead wild birds. It will not replace the Defra helpline, which will remain in place.

Residents should use the new online reporting system or call the Defra helpline on 03459 335577, if they find one or more dead birds of prey (such as an owl, hawk or buzzard), three or more dead birds that include at least one gull, swan, goose or duck or five or more dead wild birds of any species.

Last updated Monday, 22nd May 2023

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