A small commercial poultry flock has been destroyed in England following a suspected case of bird flu.
Following testing at a small commercial poultry premises near Deal, Dover District in Kent, the UK government has decided to slaughter the flock on suspicion of avian influenza and declare a 1km temporary movement restriction zone for captive birds, a spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has said.
“These are precautionary measures and avian influenza has not been confirmed on the site. These temporary measures will remain in place until disease is confirmed or ruled out,” according to the spokesperson.
DEFRA has said the risk of bird flu occurring in the UK is “medium” in wild birds and “low” in poultry, provided there’s a good standard of biosecurity.
Three cases of bird flu in Germany
Meanwhile, the German federal ministry of food and agriculture has confirmed that highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a wild duck in Hamburg, a common buzzard in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and various wild birds in Schleswig-Holstein.
Germany’s research institute for animal health had pointed out at the beginning of October that migratory birds could also become infected with avian influenza in autumn and that the risk of entry into Germany was high.
A spokesperson for the German ministry of agriculture said: “The responsible authorities of the federal states are now called upon to closely monitor the situation and to intensify monitoring measures with regard to dead or sick wild birds.
“Poultry farmers are also asked to take precautionary measures and monitor their stocks.”
Last week, two cases of highly pathogenic bird flu were confirmed in the Netherlands. This prompted Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to emphasise the need to review biosecurity practises as we now move into a higher risk period for bird flu.
A Department of Agriculture spokesperson said the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the H5N8 sub-type can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported worldwide and therefore risk to humans is considered to be very low.