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Avian influenza (bird flu) identified at a Lincolnshire farm 

Avian flu of the H5N8 strain has been confirmed in turkeys at a farm near Louth in Lincolnshire.

Most birds at the premises have died and any remaining birds there will be humanely culled. A 3km Protection Zone has been put in place as well as a 10km Surveillance Zone around the infected farm to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

The advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

There is not anticipated to be any impact on the supplies of turkeys or other birds over Christmas.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Nigel Gibbens, said: “Avian flu has been confirmed on a turkey farm in Lincolnshire. This is the same strain that has been affecting poultry in Europe. Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and all remaining poultry 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.

“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.”

A PHE spokesperson said: “Avian flu (often called bird flu) is primarily a disease of birds. There have never been any recorded cases of H5N8 in humans and the risk to public health is considered very low. We continue to work closely with Defra throughout this investigation. Despite the risk being very low, we will offer health advice to those people who may have been exposed on the farm as a precaution.”

The Prevention Zones (housing orders) put in place on Tuesday 6th December, remain in place in England, Scotland and Wales, including within the Protection and Surveillance Zones. Poultry and captive bird keepers should continue to house their birds, where practicable, maintain their biosecurity and remain vigilant about the health of their birds.

A detailed investigation is in progress to determine the most likely source of this outbreak.

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