Britain confirms H5N8 at pheasant farm

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LONDON – About 10,000 birds will be culled after investigators with the Dept. for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the United Kingdom confirmed the presence of the H5N8 virus at a pheasant farm in Preston, Lancashire.

DEFRA established a 3-km protection zone and a 10-km surveillance zone around the affected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

“A full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection,” the agency said in a statement. “Public Health England advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.”

DEFRA said the virus also was confirmed at two separate poultry farms in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire on Jan. 16, and in backyard flocks in Settle, North Yorkshire (Jan. 6) and Carmartshire, Wales (Jan. 4). Additionally, the same strain of avian flu was found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales.

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