News update:Mar 9, 2016

HPAI also found on British duck farm

The British authorities have confirmed a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza at a duck farm near Driffield, East Yorkshire.

The Chief Veterinary Officer told the BBC that there is a link between this case and the recent outbreaks in Holland and Germany. Meanwhile, the European Commission will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss those recent outbreaks of avian influenza.

The British secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) has declared a protection zone and a surveillance zone around the farm. The 6,000 ducks will be culled as soon as possible. Defra stresses 'that the risk to public health is very low'. "We are taking immediate and robust action which includes introducing a 10 km restriction zone and culling all poultry on the farm to prevent any potential spread of infection. A detailed investigation is ongoing. We have a strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu in the UK," a spokesman for the department said. So far there is no national transport ban for poultry and eggs, as is in place in the Netherlands since the discovery of HPAI on a chicken farm there.

The Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens expects to know early this week which strain is involved at the farm near Nafferton in the east of England. He ruled out the deadly strain H5N1 which has been responsible for several hundreds of human deaths over the last ten years. Gibbens told the BBC that 'the link to the disease that they found in Germany and the Netherlands is our most likely source.'

Ruud Peys

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