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Avian Influenza

Volume 598: debated on Monday 13 July 2015

The Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed a case of avian flu in a poultry farm in Lancashire.

Test results have confirmed the presence of a high severity H7N7 strain of the disease. While this disease affects birds severely, the advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health from this disease is considered very low, and the Food Standards Agency has said there is no food safety risk for consumers.

We have taken robust precautionary action, imposing a temporary control zone last Friday to limit the risk of disease spreading. Measures taken included the decision to humanely cull all birds at the premises and to apply restrictions on movements of poultry and other birds to all poultry farms within 10 kilometres around the affected premises. This decision was based on the clinical symptoms displayed by birds at the farm and laboratory findings at the time.

Now that the strain of disease has been established, we have confirmed the 10 km restriction zone around the farm to control this outbreak and to prevent any potential spread of infection. Investigations are ongoing to discover the origin of the outbreak.

We have tried and tested procedures for dealing with such animal disease outbreaks and a strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu in the UK. We are working closely with operational partners, devolved administration colleagues and the industry to deal effectively with this outbreak.

I would urge bird keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease, ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises, seek prompt advice from their vet and report suspect disease to their nearest APHA office.