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Avian influenza confirmed in UK

Avian influenza has been confirmed on a broiler breeder farm in Suffolk, in the south east of the UK.

The low-pathogen strain of H5 AI was confirmed by Defra, the UK’s agricultural authority, late on Tuesday, 10 December.

The exact sub-type of the disease is not yet known.

As a result, 27,000 birds will be culled on the farm to control the virus, and thorough cleaning and disinfection of the premises will take place.

A 1km restriction zone is in place around the farm to limit the risk of disease spreading.

The advice from Public Health England (PHE) is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Photo: Bart Nijs
Photo: Bart Nijs

Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “Low Pathogenic Avian flu has been confirmed on a commercial chicken farm in Suffolk. Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and 27,000 poultry at the farm will be culled.

“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 strain to control and eliminate it.”