Bird flu epidemic strikes Britain as Yorkshire duck farm culls its poultry
A duck farm in East Yorkshire has been confirmed to be a source of bird flu.
12:18 17 November 2014
Bird flu has hit the UK. 6,000 birds will be culled after an outbreak was discovered at a duck breeding farm in East Yorkshire. It is the first case on British soil since 2008.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) stressed that the risk to the public was 'very low' and that the deadly H5N1 strain has been ruled out. This strain, H5N8, can only be infected through close contact with affected birds.
The virus spreads rapidly among birds and in some cases has been known to affect humans.
The UK outbreak was echoed at a poultry farm in the Netherlands over the weekend that saw a highly contagious strain discovered. The Dutch government responded with a three-day nationwide ban on the transportation of eggs and poultry.
"The link to the disease they found in Germany and the Netherlands is our most likely source and, on that basis, Public Health England has said with this strain there is not a risk to public health," UK chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens told the BBC.
A Defra spokeswoman elaborated: "We have confirmed a case of avian flu on a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire - the public health risk is very low and there is no risk to the food chain.
"We are taking immediate and robust action which includes introducing a restriction zone and culling all poultry on the farm to prevent any potential spread of infection. A detailed investigation is ongoing.
"We have a strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu in the UK."