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Poultry at farm in Warwickshire will be culled as bird flu identified

Bird flu outbreak in Warwickshire: Chickens and turkeys at poultry farm will be culled after ‘highly pathogenic’ strain of H5N1 was identified

  • Every bird at a Warwickshire poultry farm is set to be culled after bird flu found
  • A ‘highly pathogenic’ strain of H5N1 was found on the farm, according to Defra
  • The unit is home to both chickens and turkeys, which will be humanely culled
  • A 1.8-mile protection zone and 6-mile surveillance zone have now been set up 

Every single bird at a farm in Warwickshire are set to be culled after a strain of bird flu was identified at the site.

A ‘highly pathogenic’  strain of H5N1 had been found on the farm, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said yesterday.

The unit in question is confirmed to be home to both chickens and turkeys which will now have to be ‘humanely culled’ to limit possible transmission.

The BBC reports that a 1.8-mile protection zone and a 6-mile surveillance zone have also now been established around the farm. 

Every single bird at a farm in Warwickshire are set to be culled after a strain of bird flu was identified at the site (stock image)

Bird flu can cause animals to develop symptoms such as eating and drinking less, producing fewer eggs or decreased activity. 

It comes after a bird flu prevention zone was declared across the country last week after a number of cases of the virus were detected in captive and wild birds in England, Wales and Scotland.  

Farms and bird keepers have been ordered to toughen their biosecurity measures after the avian influenza (H5N1) was spotted in poultry at multiple sites across the UK.   

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ), which was enforced from 5pm on November 3, sees keepers with more than 500 birds have to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites.

Workers need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles also need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly in an effort to stop the disease spreading.

The unit in question is confirmed to be home to both chickens and turkeys which will now have to be ‘humanely culled’ to limit possible transmission (stock image)

UK health agencies have said that the risk to public health from the virus is ‘very low’ and that the avian influenzas also poses a ‘very low food safety risk for UK consumers’.    

Avian influenza circulates naturally in wild birds and when they migrate to the UK from mainland Europe over the winter they can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds. 

UK health agencies have said that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the UK food standards agencies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.  

Food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas also poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers, and that cooked poultry products including eggs are safe to eat. 

In a joint statement the Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland and Wales said: ‘Following a number of detections of avian influenza in wild birds across Great Britain we have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across the whole of Great Britain.

‘This means that all bird keepers must take action now to prevent the disease spreading to poultry and other domestic birds

‘Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to introduce higher biosecurity standards on your farm or small holding. It is in your interests to do so in order to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease

‘The UK health agencies have confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and UK food standards agencies advise that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.’   

It comes after a bird flu prevention zone was declared across the country last week after a number of cases of the virus were detected in captive and wild birds in England, Wales and Scotland (stock image) 

And on the same day, the Scottish Government confirmed a flock of poultry that tested positive for avian influenza (H5N1) had been culled. 

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘In order to limit the further spread of disease, appropriate restrictions have been imposed on the premises.

‘The remaining birds at the premises will be humanely culled and three-kilometre and 10-kilometre temporary control zones have been set up around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease.

‘Within these zones, a range of different controls are now in place. These include restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure.’

Elsewhere, more than a dozen swans from a flock popular with tourists in Shakespeare’s home town were killed by bird flu as one expert warned that the virus there is ‘beyond control’.

More than a dozen swans from a flock popular with tourists in Stratford-upon-Avon (pictured) were killed after an outbreak of avian flu occurred in a Worcestershire rescue centre

Government scientists were conducting tests on the birds last week which died following an outbreak of avian flu in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Tens of thousands of tourists visit the Warwickshire town and birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare each year to marvel at the scores of swans living on the River Avon.  

But in recent weeks, several of the swans – as well as ducks and geese – have been struck down with avian flu leaving wildlife experts fearing Stratford-upon-Avon’s swan population could be wiped out.

An outbreak was first confirmed at a rescue centre in Wychbold, a 40-minute drive from Stratford-upon-Avon, but now the town’s rescue group says their swan population is at risk after several birds also contracted the deadly disease. 

Avian flu, more commonly known as bird flu, is not an airbourne virus but spreads bird-to-bird through direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces according to Defra.

Pictured: A map showing where the outbreak of avian flu was first confirmed at Wychbold rescue centre (yellow), near Stratford-upon-Avon. A second outbreak was also being monitored in Wrexham (green)

The virus can also be spread by contaminated feed and water or by dirty vehicles, clothing and footwear. 

Cases can spike during winter months if birds migrating from mainland Europe to the UK are carrying the disease.

The virus can, in certain cases, also affect humans although Defra says the risk to the public is low.

There are two strains of the virus with one being more severe. Defra is currently running tests to determine whether the birds in Stratford died of avian flu. A second wave of bird flu has been confirmed at a premises in Wrexham in Wales.

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