England: H5N1 epidemiological report released
DEFRA have issued their initial epidemiological report into the H5N1 bird flu outbreak at Redgrave farm in North Suffolk.
According to the report, disease found at the farm in England is genetically 99.8% identical to that found in a mute swan in the Czech Republic in July, suggesting that wild birds may have introduced the virus. It is also noted in the report that processing, by-products, transport and imports are all highly unlikely routes of infection in this case.
Control zones remain in place across Norfolk and Suffolk and poultry farmers in the area have housed their flocks and their movements are under license.
“The report highlights two areas, foremost how we handle the risk of infection to free-range and organic poultry flocks,” said Peter Bradnock, BPC Chief Executive, “We will be sitting down with the government and looking at further guidance on bio-security for outdoor flocks; this will be essential as consumers and retailers show an increasing preference for free-range poultry meat.”
“This was an incident involving small, free-range flocks in one distinct section of a poultry company. They, and the wider poultry sector, will be looking at the lessons here in terms of movements between farms and the location of free-range flocks. There may be planning implications which will have to be overcome in relation to the poultry sector’s ability to relocate some farms,” Bradnock concluded.