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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic; Now tracking the new emerging SARS-like coronavirus known as the Wuhan Coronavirus in China.

Suffolk, UK

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    Posted: December 10 2019 at 5:51pm

First bird flu outbreak in UK since 2017 confirmed in Suffolk

Public Health England has said that the risk to public health is very low


Tue 10 Dec 2019 22.26 GMT
Last modified on Wed 11 Dec 2019 00.40 GMT

Free-range chicken farm
The last outbreak of bird flu occurred in January 2017. Photograph: David Levene/for the Guardian

Cases of bird flu have been confirmed at a chicken farm in Suffolk, the government has said.

All 27,000 birds at the commercial farm will be culled after a number were found to have the H5 type of avian flu, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said on Tuesday.

The strain has been identified as “low pathogenic avian flu”. Public Health England (PHE) has said the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said food safety is not at risk.

All the birds will now be humanely culled and a 1km restriction zone has been implemented to limit the risk of the disease spreading.
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The chief veterinary officer, Prof Christine Middlemiss, said: “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 strain to control and eliminate it.”

The FSA said there would be no food safety risk to UK customers as long as poultry products, including eggs, were thoroughly cooked.

Dr Gavin Dabrera, public health consultant at PHE, said: “Avian flu – often called bird flu – is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. As a precaution, we are offering public health advice and antivirals to those who had contact with the affected birds, as is standard practice.”

A detailed investigation is under way to determine the most likely source of the outbreak.

It’s the first outbreak of the disease in the UK since January 2017, when thousands of birds in Lancashire and Lincolnshire were confirmed to have the H5N8 strain.

Sourcehttps://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/dec/10/first-bird-flu-outbreak-in-uk-since-2017-confirmed-in-suffolk
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