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Bird Flu Outbreak Hits English Farms

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Kent

Hundreds of birds at a farm in Kent will be culled following an outbreak of bird flu (H5N2).

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All 480 ducks and chickens on the site near the town of Deal will be killed to limit the spread of the disease, the Government has confirmed. 

The outbreak of the avian influenza at the small commercial premises was confirmed on Monday.

A 1km restricted zone has been placed around the premises near Deal “to prevent the disease spreading”.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8906607/Bird-flu-outbreak-Kent-farm-leads-culling-500-ducks-chickens.html

Cheshire 

13,000 birds are to be culled at farm in Cheshire after an outbreak of avian flu was confirmed.

The (H5N8) strain of bird flu was detected at a broiler breeders premises in Frodsham, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

All 13,000 birds at the farm, which produces hatching eggs, will be culled, said Defra.

Further testing is under way to determine if it is a highly pathogenic strain and whether it is related to the virus currently circulating in Europe.

It said it was not related to the H5N2 strain found at a small farm near Deal in Kent earlier.

Public Health England (PHE) said the risk to public health was “very low”.

3km and 10km temporary control zones have been put in place around the infected site.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-54787797

Public Health England 

Public Health England (PHE) said the risk to the UK population was “very low” but it was “looking for evidence of spread to control and eliminate it”.

There will be no impact on food supply as the farm does not supply poultry, meat or eggs commercially, she added.

Bird keepers have been told to remain alert for signs of disease and to report suspected cases immediately.

“We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it.”

Dr Gavin Dabrera, consultant in acute respiratory infections at PHE, said bird flu was an “uncommon infection” in humans.

But he advised people not to touch sick or dead birds and to wash hands thoroughly with soap after contact with any animal.

The Food Standards Agency said properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, were safe to eat.

Advice from Government

The outbreak of H5N2 LPAI in Kent means that the UK country free status for avian influenza which was regained in June 2020 following the LPAI outbreak in December 2019 has been lost. The UK is however currently free from highly pathogenic avian influenza and has remained so since September 2017.

We are taking immediate and robust action and an investigation is underway to understand the origin of the disease and confirm there are no further cases.

Avian influenza is unconnected with coronavirus (Covid-19).

The risk of bird flu occurring in the UK is “medium” in wild birds, and “low” in poultry (provided there’s a good standard of biosecurity). This is because the wild bird migration season is underway, and as winter approaches there will be an increasing risk from bird flu in the UK from migrating wild birds (which might infect domestic poultry).

If you keep poultry (including game birds or as pets), you should follow our biosecurity best practice advice. You should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in your flock and report any sign of avian influenza to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

Analysis

Why do I have a gut feeling this could be another emerging story despite assurances from PHE that it is all under control?

Anything to do with the food supply chain switches my radar to alert.  

Time will tell.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-54787797

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8906607/Bird-flu-outbreak-Kent-farm-leads-culling-500-ducks-chickens.html

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu

 

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