WALES, UK - Welsh poultry owners have been urged to be vigilant for signs of avian influenza following the outbreak in England.
The Chief Veterinary Officer for the UK confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on a farm in Lancashire.
Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans, said: "We have been working closely with Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, and officials are fully engaged in the contingency planning arrangements.
"Although there is only one confirmed case in the UK, all poultry owners in Wales need to remain vigilant and to report any signs of the disease to their local Animal Health and Plant Agency office.
"My officials work closely with the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and have been in contact to ensure they have appropriate arrangements in place for the Royal Welsh Show next week.
"They have confirmed that they are contacting all bird exhibitors and that no birds from the restricted zone or displaying any clinical signs of disease will be admitted to the showground.
"Government has a good track record of controlling and eliminating avian disease outbreaks in the UK and I am confident that we have the necessary plans in place to deal with a similar event in Wales."
Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop, said: "Poultry owners need to keep a look out for any signs of the disease. These include respiratory distress, diarrhoea, fewer eggs being laid, loss of appetite and blue discolouration of neck and throat.
"As always, all poultry keepers should continue their efforts to maintain high levels of biosecurity and monitor their birds for any signs of disease. Avian influenza is a notifiable disease, and so any suspicion should be reported immediately."
Aled Jones, Assistant Chief Executive Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, said: "The society takes any biosecurity risk extremely seriously and will remain in contact with Welsh Government and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and continue to monitor the situation carefully.
"In the meantime, we will maintain our strict protocols for handling poultry exhibits for next week's Royal Welsh Show."
The latest version of the Welsh Government's Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases was published last October. The document is available on their website.ThePoultrySite News Desk