Suspected Avian Flu Case Found on Lancashire Farm

UK - The UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is investigating a case of suspect avian flu in Lancashire and movement restrictions have been put in place.
calendar icon 10 July 2015
clock icon 4 minute read

A temporary control zone has been imposed at a poultry farm in Lancashire in light of the suspected case of avian flu.

All birds at the premises will be humanely culled as a precautionary measure to limit the risk of disease spread.

The advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health 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 temporary control zone around the affected premises are not allowed to move poultry and other animals.

The decision to take precautionary action has been taken based on the clinical symptoms displayed by birds at the farm and emerging laboratory findings. The investigation into the suspect case and laboratory tests are ongoing.

A Defra statement said the UK has 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.

Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens said: "We have taken swift precautionary action to limit the risk of disease spreading.

"These measures to control the movement of poultry and humanely cull birds at the farm are part of our tried and tested approach to deal with such incidents.

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

"I would urge bird keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease, report suspect disease to their nearest APHA office and to ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises."

Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council, said: “Swift action is being taken to confirm Avian Influenza and to prevent any possible spread. We are monitoring the situation closely. As ever, poultry farmers are urged to maintain high vigilance and bio-security.”

The UK's National Farmers' Union (NFU) said that it is aware of the farm identified and that its regional office has made contact to offer support and advice.

NFU chief poultry adviser Gary Ford said: “We understand from Defra that there is a suspected case of avian influenza (AI) in a flock of laying hens in Lancashire. The NFU is in close dialogue with both Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency and we are waiting for news of test results taken today.

“At this stage, it is too early to tell which strain of AI has been detected. However, it is important to stress that this is a disease in birds and risk to human health is low.

“Farmers take biosecurity very seriously, and the NFU is working very closely with the member involved.”

Anyone suspecting avian flu (bird flu) should immediately contact their nearest Animal and Plant and Health Agency (APHA) office.

Further Reading

For more information, visit the UK government's avian flu guidance page here, or find more avian flu news on our dedicated page here.

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