Low severity AI found at UK chicken farm

by Erica Shaffer
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LONDON – Low severity avian influenza was confirmed at a commercial chicken breeding farm in Hampshire, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) reported.

Tests confirmed the presences of an H7 strain of avian flu, a much less severe form than the H5N8 strain detected at a Yorkshire duck farm in November, the agency said. The Food Standards Agency said there is no food-safety risk to consumers. Public Health England said the risk to public health is very low. Research suggests the virus does not transmit easily from person-to-person.

Defra implemented a 1-km movement restriction zone around the farm, and the birds are being culled to prevent spread of the outbreak. Chief Veterinarian Nigel Gibbens urged poultry growers in the surrounding area to be vigilant for any signs of disease and to maintain good biosecurity on their farms.

“We have taken immediate action to contain this outbreak as part of our robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu,” Gibbens said. “This is a low severity form of the virus and we are taking action to ensure that the disease does not spread or develop into a more severe form. We are investigating the possible sources of the outbreak.”
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