Avian influenza

Avian influenza, or bird flu, is a virus that affects birds, including poultry and wild birds.

About Avian Influenza

Avian influenza, commonly referred to as bird flu, is an infectious disease of birds. There are many different types and the current common strain, H5N1, is now widespread in many bird populations globally.

In the UK

Historically, bird flu has been carried by wild birds migrating to the UK for winter, with seasonal outbreaks being common. In recent years, those outbreaks have lasted longer, and it now appears as though bird flu may be present almost year-round.

We have been carefully monitoring our wetland reserves in the UK. Protecting the birds in our care and those visiting our reserves is vital and we continue with precautionary measures at our wetland centres to prevent the spread of this bird disease. This includes disinfectant footmats at entrances and exits.

We keep these measures under constant review and follow the advice of our experts and relevant government agencies. We thank all our wetland centre visitors for supporting our efforts to stop the spread of this disease and protect birds.

How we can help

There is very little that can be done to tackle bird flu directly in wild birds. Wild birds already face multiple threats globally, from habitat loss and degradation, climate change and more.

The most effective way we can support our wild bird populations, now and for the future, is through the protection, restoration and creation of essential habitats. This will give them more resilience to cope better with the additional threat from diseases like bird flu.

This is central to WWT’s approach and we continue to fight for better protection for wild birds and the wetland habitats on which they rely, particularly nature-rich wetlands that benefit people and wildlife.

Frequently asked questions