Bird flu outbreak hits UK farm with restricted zone in place to contain disease

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Some 480 birds are to be culled following the confirmation of an outbreak of bird flu at a farm near Deal, Kent, on Monday.

A 1km restricted zone has been put in place around the site to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: "Avian flu has been confirmed at a small commercial premises in Kent.

"Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and all remaining poultry and captive birds at the farm will be culled.

"Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

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"There will be no impact on food supply as this business does not supply poultry meat or eggs to the commercial food chain.

"Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.

"We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it."

Dr Gavin Dabrera, Consultant in Acute Respiratory Infections at PHE, said: "Avian influenza remains an uncommon infection in humans and the risk to the UK population remains very low – we will continue working with Defra and the local Health Protection Team to monitor the situation closely.

"Do not touch any sick or dead birds and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap after contact with any animal."

A Food Standards Agency spokesperson said: "The Food Standard Agency advises that, on the basis of the current scientific evidence, this strain of avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

"The wider risk posed by avian influenzas through the food chain is very low.

"Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, remain safe to eat."

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