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Over 25,000 turkeys to be culled as ninth bird flu outbreak confirmed
6 December 2020, 18:47 | Updated: 6 December 2020, 18:53
Over 25,000 turkeys will be culled after the ninth outbreak of bird flu among captive birds in England was confirmed on Saturday.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said the H5N8 strain of avian influenza was confirmed in rearing turkeys at premises near King's Lynn in Norfolk over the weekend.
All of the birds on the site will be humanely culled to prevent the spread of the highly infectious disease and protection and surveillance zones of 3km and 10km respectively have been put in place.
An investigation is underway to identify the likely source of the infection.
The ninth outbreak comes shortly after avian flu was confirmed in rearing turkeys at premises near Attleborough, also in Norfolk, on Friday.
Up to 30,000 turkeys will be culled at this site and similar surveillance measures have been put in place.
From December 14, all bird keepers must legally keep their flocks indoors and follow biosecurity procedures under measures announced by the Government to limit the disease's spread.
The chief veterinary officers for England, Scotland and Wales agreed on the new measures to protect wild birds and poultry following cases of the "highly infectious" illness in both populations.
Public Health England said the risk to the public from the virus is "very low", and food standards agencies have said it does not affect the consumption of poultry products.
Christine Middlemiss, Sheila Voas and Christianne Glossop encouraged bird owners to use the coming days to prepare for the measures.
In a joint statement, the three chief vets concluded: "We have not taken this decision lightly, but it is the best way to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease."
Last month, restrictions were implemented to prevent the spread of the virus as England, Scotland and Wales were made an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ).
This meant that poultry and captive bird keepers must take additional steps such as disinfecting equipment, vehicles and clothing, changing clothing and footwear before entering enclosures and limiting access to non-essential people.
The flu spreads between birds by direct contact or through contaminated bodily fluids, and can also be spread by contaminated feed, water, or by dirty clothing and footwear.
The veterinary chiefs warned in October that Britain risks a bird flu outbreak after swans became infected in the Netherlands.