Authorities confirm new bird flu case in Lancashire

A new outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed in birds in Lancashire
A new outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed in birds in Lancashire

Authorities have confirmed a new case of avian influenza in Lancashire following a string of outbreaks across the UK in recent days.

Avian influenza of the H5N1 subtype has been discovered in birds at a premises near Kirkham, Fylde on Tuesday afternoon (16 November).

The outbreak comes after Lancashire confirmed a case of bird flu on Friday 12 November, near Salwick, Fylde.

Further testing is underway to confirm the pathogenicity of the strain discovered today, Defra explained.

The outbreak belongs to the H5N1 subtype of the disease, a highly contagious variant which can decimate poultry flocks.

Defra said 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zones have been put in place surrounding the premises in Kirkham.

It follows numerous outbreaks of highly-pathogenic bird flu in recent days, including in North Wales, North Yorkshire, Essex and Warwickshire.

Because of the frequency of outbreaks, an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared across the whole of Britain earlier this month.

Northern Ireland then followed, with authorities announcing an AIPZ on Monday (15 November).

The AIPZ means that it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures as a way to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading.

In a joint statement the Chief Veterinary Officers for Wales, England and Scotland said: "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 CVOs explained.

“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.”