Bird flu outbreak confirmed at farm in North Yorkshire

PA Wider Europe has seen a wave of avian flu outbreaks in birds. File pic

PA Wider Europe has seen a wave of avian flu outbreaks in birds. File pic

Thousands of birds at a turkey fattening farm in Yorkshire, UK will have to be culled after an outbreak of bird flu.

Public Health England said the risk to the public's health was very low and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said, on the basis of current scientific evidence, the food safety risk for United Kingdom consumers was also very low. Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and all the remaining turkeys at the farm will be culled.

The H5N8 subtype of avian influenza has been responsible for outbreaks of disease in wild birds and poultry in a number of Member States and Great Britain since late October.

The authorities have established a temporary control zone of 3 and 10 kilometres to delimit the affected area and restrict the risk of transmission of the virus.

It is not expected to have an impact on the supply of turkeys or other birds over Christmas.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said avian influenza posed little risk to public health and that this particular strain of the virus (H5N8) did not affect food safety.

"As a precaution the local Health Protection Team will offer routine health advice to those working on the farm".

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The department said it is closely monitoring the situation.

Announcing the introduction of the AIPZ, Minister Poots said: "In recent weeks the department has detected highly-pathogenic Avian Influenza in five wild birds across Northern Ireland".

According to The Independent, 10,500 birds will be killed to control the spread.

"These Regulations require specific biosecurity measures to be implemented by the keepers of all poultry (and other captive bird) flocks, irrespective of size, to help mitigate the risk of the virus and additional enhanced biosecurity measures that must be implemented in flocks of 500 birds or more", it said.

Workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese are also urged to strengthen their biosecurity measures in order to prevent further outbreaks.

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