DEFRA confirms bird flu in UK

DEFRA confirms bird flu in UK

Defra confirmed last night (16th November) that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been found on a duck farm in Yorkshire. Disinfection procedures are underway at the farm near Driffield, under direction from Defra.

BPC chief executive, Andrew Large: “The poultry industry’s first Economic Impact Assessment makes clear its importance to UK PLC."

BPC chief executive, Andrew Large: “Wide and ongoing surveillance of housed and wild birds in the UK, particularly susceptible waterfowl species, is key.”

The N number is yet to be confirmed but this does come in the back of the outbreaks of the H5N8 strain in Germany and the Netherlands, and which was until recently confined to South East Asia. These are believed to have been caused by migratory wild birds.

Defra has placed two exclusion zones around the farm, at 3km (protection zone) and at 10km (surveillance zone), following the requirements of the Avian Influenza order 2006. It requires the housing of all poultry or, if that is not possible, the complete separation of poultry farms from wild birds. Movement of all poultry and poultry products within these zones is controlled under licence.

Maintaining a high level of surveillance of housed and wild birds in the UK is key to helping contain avian influenza once present.

BPC chief executive, Andrew Large said: “Wide and ongoing surveillance of housed and wild birds in the UK, particularly susceptible waterfowl species, is key. We hope this outbreak has been quickly contained. Avian influenza is a disease of birds and the risk to the general public is judged by health experts to be negligible.

“Consumers should continue to support British poultry meat, assured that there is no risk in eating cooked poultry, and that is a message echoed by the Food Standards Agency and the World Health Organisation.”

Large continued: “The rapid containment and culling of this outbreak has proved how effective partnership between government and the poultry sector can be. DEFRA, the other agencies involved, and the industry, have dealt with the situation in a rapid and effective way and the controls in place are proportionate to the risk poultry farmers faced.”

Poultry farmers are being urged to maintain high vigilance and bio-security.

Epidemiological investigations into the source of the outbreak are continuing and the British Poultry Council is liaising closely with Defra.

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