Restriction zone still in effect after bird flu discovered on farm
- Credit: Archant
A one-kilometre restriction zone placed around a Suffolk farm remains in place after bird flu was found there earlier this week.
All 27,000 chickens at a commercial farm in Athelington, near Eye, are to be humanely culled after a strain of low pathogenic avian flu (LPAI) was identified on Tuesday, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
Defra said in a statement: "A detailed investigation is in progress to determine the most likely source of this outbreak."
Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss added: "We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this strain to control and eliminate it."
LPAI is a less serious strain of H5 avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, which had not been identified in the UK since June 2017.
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To prevent the risk of the disease spreading, Defra have enforced a one-kilometre restriction zone around the farm - restricting the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure.
Poultry keepers in the restricted zone have had to apply for movement licences for some specific movements from the zone.
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Restrictions on bird gatherings and the release of game birds are also in place.
Despite the restrictions, Public Health England have said the risk to public health is "very low".
The virus can be particularly deadly for birds but has been known to transmit to humans, spreading through contact with infected animals or droppings.
Symptoms of bird flu in humans include a high temperature, aching muscles, headaches and a recurring cough.
It usually takes three to five days for the symptoms to appear.
Since 2003, 455 people globally have died as a result of bird flu.
As the strain of the virus discovered at the farm is low pathogenic, the risk of a human dying from the condition remains remote.
Experts have moved to alleviate concerns the disease may spread via human consumption.
The Food Standards Agency have said there is no risk to health as long as poultry products, including eggs, are thoroughly cooked.
Defra have given no indication as to when the restriction zone will lifted.