A case of avian influenza (bird flu) has been confirmed
A case of avian influenza (bird flu) has been confirmed at a wildbird rescue centre in Worcestershire today.
The case was confirmed earlier by the UK Chief Veterinary Officer.
All birds on site will be humanely culled and a 3km and 10km temporary control zone has been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.
The UK Health Security Agency has advised that the risk to public health from the virus is very low, while the Food Standards Agency has made clear that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.
The premises does not supply poultry, meat or eggs to the commercial food chain.
UK Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, stated: “H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed at a wildbird rescue centre in Worcestershire.
“We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease and any birds at risk of infection will now be humanely culled.
“UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu poses a very low risk to food safety for UK consumers.
“As we move into the higher risk period over winter, bird keepers should pay extra attention to the health of their birds.
“Anybody who suspects disease should report it to their vet or APHA immediately.
“The best way to tackle this disease is for poultry keepers to ensure that they have strong biosecurity measures in place.”
Dr. Gavin Dabrera, Consultant Epidemiologist, UK Health Security Agency, commented: “Avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.
“The Regional UKHSA Health Protection Team is working closely with Defra to closely monitor the situation and will be providing health advice to persons at the site as a precaution.
“It is generally important to not touch any sick or dead birds and to make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap after contact with any animal.”
Meanwhile, a Food Standards Agency spokesperson, said: “On the basis of the current scientific evidence, the Food Standard Agency advises that, avian influenzas pose a very low risk to UK consumers through the food chain.
“Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, remain safe to eat.”
A detailed investigation is in progress to determine the most likely source of this outbreak.