New incident of avian influenza found in Lincolnshire

The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed another incident of H5N8 avian influenza in a flock of turkeys at a farm in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire. 

This follows confirmation of the disease in a flock of turkeys on a nearby farm on 16 December 2016. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said there was “unlikely to be a direct link to the previous case, but a full investigation is under way to confirm this”.

It is the same strain found in backyard flocks in Carmarthenshire, Wales, and in Settle, North Yorkshire, earlier this month, and in a number of wild birds in England, Wales and Scotland.

A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. The infected premises are located in the existing Surveillance Zone in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire, creating a new zone which is slightly wider, but still in the district of East Lindsey.

The flock is estimated to contain approximately 6,000 birds. A number have died and the remaining live birds at the premises are being humanely culled.

Nigel Gibbens, chief veterinary officer, said: “We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading, with restrictions in place around the affected premises. A full investigation is underway to determine the source of the infection.

“This finding reminds us that we must all be vigilant for signs of disease and take steps to minimise the risk of birds catching the disease from wild birds – either directly or through the environment.

“This means complying with the legal requirement currently in place to house birds or otherwise keep them separate from wild birds and following strict biosecurity measures to minimise the risk of avian flu spreading via the environment.”

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, which has been in place since 6 December, has been extended until 28 February to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu.

The zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to continue to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

The British Poultry Council, which is liaising with Defra, also urged poultry farmers to maintain high vigilance and biosecurity.

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