Bird flu restrictions relaxed after East Yorkshire outbreak

Ducks on the farm in Nafferton where the bird flu outbreak was reported.
Ducks on the farm in Nafferton where the bird flu outbreak was reported.
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Restrictions imposed on the movement of poultry after an outbreak of bird flu have now been lifted, the Government has said.

Some 6,000 ducks were culled on a farm at Nafferton, near Driffield, East Yorkshire, following the identification of “highly pathogenic” H5N8 bird flu last month.

The disease was the same strain as one confirmed at a chicken farm in the central province of Utrecht, the Netherlands, and in Germany.

In a statement today, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “On Sunday, December 21 all restrictions following the outbreak were lifted.

“This means that all poultry-keeping farms within the 10 kilometre (6.2 mile) surveillance zone around the infected property are now allowed to move poultry and other animals without restriction.

“Other restrictions covering the storage, transport and sourcing of meat products are also lifted.

“A protected zone which imposed additional movement controls on properties within three kilometres of the infected farm was lifted on Friday.”

Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens said: “Protecting our country from animal diseases is important for our economy and our robust and thorough approach to tackling this outbreak means we are able to lift these restrictions at the earliest possible point allowed by EU (European Union) law.

“This outbreak should serve as a reminder for the poultry industry of the importance of maintaining strict biosecurity to minimise the risk of infection and I would urge keepers to remain vigilant for any signs of disease and report suspicions to their vet immediately.

“Following confirmation of the outbreak last month, all poultry on the infected premises were humanely destroyed and the affected farm was cleansed and disinfected.

“The advice from Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer is that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said there is no food safety risk for consumers.

“Investigations are ongoing into the most likely source of the outbreak.”

The Yorkshire outbreak was the first serious case of bird flu in the UK since 2008 when the H7N7 strand was found in free range hens near Banbury, Oxfordshire.