While H5N8 was relatively late to emerge in the UK this fall, with only one poultry outbreak in (December) of 2016, since the first of the year 7 flocks have been affected and numerous wild bird detections have been reported.
The latest was announced overnight when a large flock, scheduled yesterday to be `proactively' culled due to its proximity to two recent outbreaks (see here and here) was determined to be infected.
This is the third outbreaks in Lancashire in a week, and appears to be the largest cull (63K birds, including pheasants, partridges and ducks) since this wave began. DEFRA currently lists the following 3km Protection Zones and 10km Surveillance Zones still in effect:
A 10km Surveillance Zone remains in place in the following case:
- flocks of farmed breeding pheasants at 3 separate, linked premises near Pilling, Wyre, Lancashire (24, 27, 30 January 2017)
- a turkey flock near Boston, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire (26 January 2017)
- a commercial turkey unit near Louth, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire (16 January 2017)
- a small backyard flock of chickens and ducks on a premises near Settle in North Yorkshire (6 January 2017)
- a backyard flock of chickens and ducks on a premises in Carmarthenshire, Wales (3 January 2017)
The original announcement to proactively cull the third farm, amended with the detection of H5N8, follows:
Following continued investigations it has not been possible to rule out the presence of disease in farmed birds at a further linked premises in the area.
In order to contain the possible spread of disease, the Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens has today (30 January) confirmed that proactive culling of 63,000 birds, including pheasants, partridges and ducks, will take place.
The premises will then be cleansed and disinfected, further reducing the risk that disease can be spread to other birds.
Our investigations will continue and the restrictions already placed on the sites will remain in force until cleansing and disinfection is finished and the investigation is complete.
Public Health England advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
Read the latest advice and information on avian flu in the UK, including actions to reduce the risk of the disease spreading, advice for anyone who keeps poultry or captive birds and details of previous cases.
Further update - 30 January
Continuing investigations and positive test results have now confirmed the presence of H5N8 avian flu at the linked premises.