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New cases of H5N8 confirmed in England

geograph-339930-by-Keith-EvansSIX DAYS AFTER government restrictions were lifted at a turkey farm in Louth, Lincolnshire – following an outbreak of the highly infectious H5N8 avian flu strain – new restrictions have been enforced at farms in Lancashire and Lincolnshire.

On January 24, the UK’s chief veterinary officer confirmed a new case of avian flu in a flock of farmed breeding pheasants in Wyre, Lancs. Some of the 10,000 birds have died and the remaining birds will be humanely culled.

Two days later (January 26), the disease was found again in Lincs, at a turkeyrearing farm near Boston.

Currently, 2-mile (3km) Protection Zones and 6-mile (10km) Surveillance Zones remain in place at the following sites: Boston, Lincolnshire (confirmed January 26); Wyre, Lancashire (confirmed January 24); East Lindsey, Lincolnshire (confirmed January 16); Settle, North Yorkshire (confirmed January 6); and Carmarthenshire, Wales (confirmed January 4).

The strain of the disease has been found in wild and farmed birds only. It first appeared in Europe in October 2016, and eight countries in Europe (Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland) reported numerous detections of H5N8 between November 3-11.

Measures to reduce the risk of the disease spreading in the UK are in place for keepers of garden poultry, and should be considered as a precaution to keepers of any captive birds.

Pigeons or aviary birds pose a much lower risk of passing the disease to domestic poultry, but all keepers of garden poultry are required to house them separately from wild birds. This law applies until February 28.

DEFRA requires food and water supplies to be kept inside where they cannot be contaminated; birds should be fed inside and kept away from standing water. Where birds remain outside, set up a temporary enclosure covered with netting that wild birds cannot access; and clean footwear before and after visits.

● Report dead wild waterfowl or other dead wild birds to the DEFRA helpline on: 03459 335 577.

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