Dangerous strain of bird flu is found in Lincolnshire

The H5N8 strain of avian flu has been detected in nine mute swans in Dorset.
The H5N8 strain of avian flu has been detected in nine mute swans in Dorset.
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A DANGEROUS strain of bid flu has been confirmed in turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the disease had been detected on a poultry farm near Louth.

Birds on the farm which have not already died will be culled in order to prevent the spread of the H5N8 strain, a type of highly pathogenic avian flu, Defra said.

In an update on the department’s website it said: “We are taking immediate and robust action and an investigation is under way to understand the origin of the disease and confirm that there are no further cases.”

It is the first confirmed case in England of a strain which had already been circulating in countries across Europe, from Poland to France.

A spokeswoman for Public Health England said the risk to people is low.

She said: “Avian flu (often called bird flu) is primarily a disease of birds. There have never been any recorded cases of H5N8 in humans and the risk to public health is considered very low.

“We continue to work closely with Defra throughout this investigation. Despite the risk being very low, we will offer health advice to those people who may have been exposed on the farm as a precaution.”

Chief Veterinary Officer Professor Nigel Gibbens said: “Avian flu has been confirmed on a turkey farm in Lincolnshire. This is the same strain that has been affecting poultry in Europe. Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and all remaining poultry at the farm will be culled.

“Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

“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 farm to control and eliminate it.”

The restrictions no ‘gatherings’ of poultry or the release of game birds are also allowed. Information on the restriction measures in place within the zones can be found at the Gov.UK. website