UK bird flu strain confirmed as H5N8

By Georgi Gyton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The restrictions ban the movement of all poultry, products and waste. Photo credit: Jamie McDonald
The restrictions ban the movement of all poultry, products and waste. Photo credit: Jamie McDonald

Related tags: Influenza

The recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the UK has been confirmed as the H5N8 strain of the disease - the same as the outbreaks in the Netherlands and Germany this month.

The news was announced by the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) yesterday (18 November).

In the UK all 6,000 susceptible ducks were culled yesterday, while a 10km surveillance zone has been set up around the site, which includes another major poultry farm operated by 2 Sisters Food Group. The restriction zone bans the movement of all poultry, products and waste within the designated area.

2 Sisters said in a statement: "As our protocols dictate, we are suspending all farm visits, including audits and farmer meetings, for the next seven days. All deliveries onto farms will be kept to an absolute minimum."

Defra officials said the most likely source of the virus was birds migrating south for the winter.

The outbreak at the farm in Nafferton, East Yorkshire, owned by Cherry Valley Foods, follows the discovery of the same strain of bird flu at a farm in the Netherlands only days ago, and in Germany earlier this month.

The outbreak in the Netherlands, confirmed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs on 15 November, resulted in a temporary nationwide restriction on the movement of all poultry and poultry products. A nationwide order was also issued for poultry and other live birds to be housed inside and isolated.

The highly pathogenic strain was discovered at a poultry farm in Hekendorp, containing around 150,000 laying hens. The 10km surveillance zone around the site contains 16 other poultry farms, said Sharon Dijksma, minister for economic affairs in a letter to the president of the House of Representatives in the Netherlands.

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