LONDON – The H5N8 strain of avian influenza was confirmed at a farm near Frodsham in Cheshire, while an H5N2 strain was confirmed at a small commercial poultry farm near Deal in Kent, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced on Nov. 2.
DEFRA said all 13,000 birds at the farm in Cheshire will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease. The agency also implemented control zones of 3 km and 10 km around the infected site to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Additional testing is underway to determine if the strain is a highly pathogenic strain and whether it is related to the virus currently circulating in Europe.
“Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers,” Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said.
“Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.
“We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it,” she added.
DEFRA said 480 birds on the farm in Kent will be humanely culled, and a 1 km low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) restricted zone was established around the infected farm to limit the risk of the virus spreading.
Middlemiss said, “There will be no impact on food supply as this business does not supply poultry meat or eggs to the commercial food chain.
“Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.”