Bird flu outbreak confirmed on Suffolk farm - 27,000 poultry to be culled
PUBLISHED: 22:06 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 22:08 10 December 2019
Thousands of birds will be culled after avian flu was discovered at a chicken farm in Suffolk.
Public Health England confirmed on Tuesday, December 10, that a commercial chicken farm in Mid Suffolk had a recorded case of the disease and a 1km restriction zone was in place around it.
PHE said all 27,000 birds will be humanely culled to limit the risk of the disease spreading.
The strain has been identified as Low Pathogenic Avian Flu (LPAI) which means the risk to public health is "very low".
Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: "Low Pathogenic Avian flu has been confirmed on a commercial chicken farm in Suffolk.
"Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and 27,000 poultry at the farm will be culled.
"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 strain to control and eliminate it."
The Food Standards Agency said there is no food safety risk for UK customers as long as poultry products, including eggs, are thoroughly cooked.
What affect does bird flu have?
This strain of bird flu is a less serious strain of H5 avian influenza. It can cause mild breathing problems, but affected birds will not always show clear signs of infection. The last confirmed case of LPAI in the UK was in Dunfermline in January 2016.
Clinical signs that poultry keepers should look for in their birds include a swollen head, discolouration of neck and throat, loss of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhoea and fewer eggs laid, although clinical signs vary between species of bird.
Dr Gavin Dabrera, Public Health Consultant, Public Health England, said: "As a precaution, we are offering public health advice and antivirals to those who had contact with the affected birds, as is standard practice."
If the public find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, they should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.