Lancashire poultry farm restrictions lifted following avian flu

Restrictions have now been lifted following an incident of avian flu on a Lancashire farm last month, Defra has confirmed.

The lifting of the restrictions means all poultry-keeping farms within the 10-kilometre restriction zone around the infected premises are now allowed to move poultry and other animals without restriction.

The high severity case of avian flu was confirmed in chickens at a farm in Preston on 13 July and action was taken to prevent any spread of the disease, with a restriction zone placed around the property.

The restrictions have been lifted 30 days after the completion of an initial cleaning and disinfection of the premises, which is the earliest point allowed under EU rules to end the controls.

All poultry on the premises were humanely culled and the affected farm was cleansed and disinfected to prevent the disease spreading. Government investigations suggest the most likely source of infection was direct or indirect contact with infected wild birds. No further cases of avian flu have been identified on the premises.

Chief vet Nigel Gibbens said: Protecting our country from animal disease is vital for our economy. Our robust, swift and intensive approach to tackling this incident, and confirming the disease was contained to a single farm, means we have been able to lift these restrictions at the earliest possible point allowed by EU law.

He warned other poultry farmers to remain vigilant.

The UK remains at a constant low risk of an incident of avian influenza and this latest case should serve as a reminder for the poultry industry of the importance of maintaining strict biosecurity to minimise the risk of infection. I also urge keepers to remain vigilant for any signs of disease and report any suspicions to their vet immediately.

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