First case of Bird Flu of 2024 confirmed in England

Date published: 26 February 2024

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 was confirmed in commercial poultry in England on 14 February. This is the first case of 2024 in the UK.


Chief Veterinary Officer Robert Huey has issued a message to all bird keepers. Dr. Huey said: “The risk of avian flu remains a real and constant threat as the disease continues to circulate across Great Britain and Europe. The confirmation of this first case of the year in England, is a stark reminder that all bird keepers must remain vigilant and continue to practice high standards of biosecurity. Effective biosecurity measures are vital in protecting Northern Ireland’s (NI) poultry flock from this disease.

“I am encouraging all bird keepers to critically review their biosecurity and improve where possible to reduce the risk of transmission of disease to your flocks. If avian flu were to enter any flock, including backyard or hobby flocks, it would have a devastating effect on the poultry industry and a significant impact on international trade. Detailed information on how to improve biosecurity can be found on the Avian Influenza Hub.”

Dr. Huey added: “All bird keepers, except those who keep caged pet birds in their home, are legally required to register and keep their details up to date on the DAERA Bird Register. This information is vital to help the Department deal effectively with a disease outbreak and to provide advice to keepers on the measures required to protect their birds.

“Bird registration forms are available from the DAERA website or by contacting your local DAERA Direct Regional Office. Bird keepers who have not yet registered their birds should do so immediately.

“The risk of a notifiable avian influenza incursion into the NI poultry flock is moderate with high uncertainty, with biosecurity continuing to play a key role in the risk posed to each individual flock. The current Veterinary Risk Assessment (VRA) can be accessed on the DAERA website.”

DAERA encourages all bird keepers to sign up to the text alert service. This will allow you to receive immediate notification of any important disease information, allowing you to protect your flocks at the earliest opportunity. Simply text BIRDS OPT IN to add your number to RECEIVE text messages to 07860 098672.

If your poultry have been registered and you provided the Department with a valid mobile number, you have automatically been subscribed to this service and notified by text. 

Notes to editors: 

  1. Download the the Avian Influenza Hub.
  2. Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease. Anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must report it to their local Divisional Veterinary Office. Contact details can be found on the DAERA website.
  3. All poultry and other birds must be registered with DAERA. The application form is available on the DAERA website.
  4. The ongoing Veterinary Risk Assessment (VRA) was updated in January 2024 by Departmental veterinary colleagues. This is available to view on the DAERA website.
  5. More information about Avian Influenza - including biosecurity guidance - is available from the DAERA website.
  6. Members of the public are encouraged to report findings of dead waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey,  using the DAERA Dead Wild Bird Online Reporting Tool which can be located on the DAERA website.
  7. Texts sent to 07860 098672 may be charged at your standard mobile network rate.  There is no charge to receive text messages from this service. If you wish to be removed from this service, please text BIRDS OPT OUT to STOP getting text messages. Further details are available on the DAERA website.
  8. Follow DAERA on X formerly called Twitter and Facebook.
  9. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: or telephone: 028 9016 3460.
  10. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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