Case of bird flu in Lancashire confirmed

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A case of H7N7 avian flu has now been confirmed in Lancashire, according to DEFRA.

A temporary control zone imposed on Friday at the affected farm has now been replaced by a 10 kilometre surveillance zone and an inner 3 kilometre protection zone. Restrictions remain in place and the humane culling of all birds at the farm is continuing.

Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health from this strain is very low. The Food Standards Agency has said there is no food safety risk for consumers.

The restrictions mean that all poultry farms within the 10 kilometre control zone around the infected premises are not allowed to move poultry, captive birds or other mammals except under licence.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: “Final tests results have confirmed a case of avian flu at a farm in Lancashire. Restrictions put in place last week will continue and the humane culling of all birds at the site is progressing. These actions are part of our tried and tested approach to dealing with previous outbreaks.

“Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspect disease to their nearest APHA office immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.”

There is a strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu in the UK. The outbreaks in Yorkshire last year and Hampshire in February were both successfully contained, allowing restrictions to be lifted at the earliest opportunity.

An investigation into this case is ongoing.