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7 Dec, 2020 16:16

UK to cull 25,000 turkeys after NINTH bird flu outbreak this year

UK to cull 25,000 turkeys after NINTH bird flu outbreak this year

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced a cull of around 25,000 turkeys after officials confirmed an outbreak of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza at a farm in Norfolk, England.

In response to the new outbreak, authorities have implemented a 3km ‘Protection Zone’ and 10km ‘Surveillance Zone’ around the infected premises to prevent the further spread of the disease, which is highly infectious in poultry. 

The government is investigating the source of the infection but, as of Monday, have not disclosed where they believe it likely originated from. The outbreak in Norfolk is the ninth case of avian flu to be confirmed in the UK in 2020 and it follows the announcement a week earlier that 10,000 turkeys had to be culled at a farm in North Yorkshire. 

In order to combat the disease, the Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland and Wales have released new measures to protect wild birds and farmed poultry, including asking all bird keepers to keep their flocks indoors from December 14, and follow core biosecurity procedures. 

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In a joint statement, the officials said: “We have not taken this decision lightly, but it is the best way to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”  

Avian flu spreads through direct contact between birds, via contaminated bodily fluids or through infected clothing, feed, footwear or water. Public Health England has stated that the risk to the public is “very low” and, so far, the Food Standards Agencies have said it does not affect the consumption of produce. 

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