Avian influenza confirmed on turkey farm in Lincolnshire

Avian influenza of the H5N8 strain has been confirmed in turkeys at a farm near Louth in Lincolnshire.

Most birds at the premises have died and any remaining birds are set to be humanely culled. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has put in place a 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone around the infected farm to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

The advice from Public Health England (PHE) is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has stated that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

The Prevention Zones previously announced on Tuesday 6 December remain in place in England, Scotland and Wales, including within the Protection and Surveillance Zones. Poultry and captive bird keepers should continue to house their birds, where practicable, maintain their biosecurity and remain vigilant about the health of their birds.

British Poultry Council (BPC) chief executive Richard Griffiths said: As stated by Defra, immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading, including humanely culling all the birds on the farm. Avian influenza is a disease of birds and the risk to the general public is judged by health experts to be negligible.

There is no threat to Christmas turkeys, and the FSA has made clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Poultry farmers are being urged to maintain high vigilance and bio-security. Investigations into the outbreak are continuing and the BPC is liaising closely with Defra.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the British Veterinary Poultry Association (BVPA) said: Wed like to emphasise that the risk to public health from this strain is very low and that the FSA has made clear that there is no food safety risk to consumers, with thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products still safe to eat.

The quick identification of the suspected case and swift precautionary measures to contain the disease illustrate the ongoing importance of a robust veterinary surveillance system. The BVA and BVPA urge all vets and poultry keepers to remain vigilant to signs of the disease and heed the biosecurity advice issued by Defra. Any suspicion of avian influenza should be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency as soon as possible.

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