Birds culled as avian flu outbreak detected near Sudbury

Chickens at Clinks Care Farm in Beccles

Birds have been culled after an outbreak of the H5N1 avian flu near Sudbury in Suffolk. Picture: File photo of chickens at a farm in Suffolk - Credit: Danielle Booden

Birds have been culled after an outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu was detected near Sudbury.

A 3km protection zone has been put in place around the outbreak of the H5N1 strain, while a further 10km surveillance zone has also been put in place.

The protection zone mean birds cannot be be moved from their premises and carcasses have to be disposed of in accordance with special instructions. Biosecurity measures must also be stepped up.

Inside the surveillance zone, a licence is needed to move birds or their meat or eggs. A record of visitors to the premises must be kept, biosecurity measures must be put in place for people and vehicles, and releasing game birds is forbidden.

The Sudbury bird flu outbreak is the fourth in East Anglia, but the first detected in Suffolk.

The birds at the outbreak have been culled and officials from the Department from Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will conduct "disease control activities and surveillance".

Christine Middlemiss, the UK's chief veterinary officer, said: "We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease but we are continuing to see a growing number of bird flu cases on farms and in backyard flocks across the country.

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"Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

"It is now a legal requirement to keep your birds indoors to keep them separate from wild birds which spread the disease.

"It is also vital that you maintain strong biosecurity by regularly checking and maintaining sheds and cleaning and disinfecting footwear to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Don’t walk the virus into your hens."

An Avian Influenze Prevention Zone has also been put in place for the whole of Great Britain, meaning it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors.