Three people tested for bird flu after farm outbreak

Experts are working to establish the source of an outbreak of bird flu at a farm in Hampshire. Pic: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Experts are working to establish the source of an outbreak of bird flu at a farm in Hampshire. Pic: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
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Three people have been tested for bird flu as work begins to slaughter 10,000 chickens following an outbreak at a farm in Hampshire.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said a “low severity” outbreak of avian flu had been confirmed in chickens in the village of Upham.

It is understood that three people, including a Defra official, were tested for the disease after showing symptoms but the results came back negative.

A 1km poultry restriction zone has been imposed and the birds at the commercial chicken breeding farm, which has not been named, are to be culled as part of action to prevent any spread of the disease.

The outbreak was confirmed last Friday following several deaths among the chickens, according to a source.

The outbreak has been identified as the H7 strain, which is described by officials as “much less severe” than the H5N8 strain found at a duck farm near Driffield in November.

Defra said there are no links between the two cases while Public Health England said the risk to public health is very low.

There is no food safety risk for consumers, according to the Food Standards Agency.

Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens said: “We have taken immediate action to contain this outbreak as part of our robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu.

“This is a low severity form of the virus and we are taking action to ensure that the disease does not spread or develop into a more severe form. We are investigating the possible sources of the outbreak.”