Second outbreak of bird flu confirmed

A second outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed in Lancashire, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said.

Bird flu has been confirmed in a handful of chickens and ducks

The H5N8 avian flu strain was confirmed in a flock of pheasants at a premises in Pilling, Preston, by the UK’s deputy chief veterinary officer, Graeme Cooke.

Defra said there was a business link between the site and a nearby farm where the infection was found in a flock of about 10,000 pheasants earlier this week.

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The latest case comes after the strain was also discovered earlier this month in two small backyard flocks of chickens and ducks on a premises near Settle in North Yorkshire, and Carmarthenshire, south-west Wales.

On January 16, Defra confirmed a case of bird flu in a flock of about 6,000 turkeys at a farm in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire.

A 3km (1.8 mile) protection zone and a 10km (6.2 mile) surveillance zone have been put in place around both infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

A Defra spokesman said: “This case was proactively identified as part of a routine investigation of premises traced as a result of confirmation of the disease in Lancashire earlier this week.

“There is a business link between the two premises.”

A number of the birds have died and the others will be humanely culled.

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

An avian influenza prevention zone was declared on December 6 and will remain in place until February 28.

It requires owners to keep poultry and captive birds indoors or to take steps to separate them from wild birds.