Bird flu found on farm but risks to humans said to be low

A case of bird flu has been detected at a farm in Hampshire.
A case of bird flu has been detected at a farm in Hampshire.
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A CASE of bird flu has been detected at a farm in Hampshire.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said a “low severity” case of avian flu has been confirmed in chickens.

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 has been identified as the H7 strain, which is described by officials as “much less severe” than the H5N8 strain found at a Yorkshire duck farm 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.

Experts are working to establish the source of the outbreak.

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.

“I would urge poultry keepers in the surrounding area to be vigilant for any signs of disease and to ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.”

Nick Phin, Director for Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control said: “Based on what we know about this strain of avian influenza and the actions that have been taken, the risk to human health in this case is considered very low.”

A spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency said: “On the basis of current scientific evidence,

“Food Standards Agency advice is that avian (bird) flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.”