10:18 September 20, 2022
Two new cases of bird flu have been confirmed in Norfolk and Suffolk as the UK’s worst-ever outbreak of the disease continues to put pressure on the region’s poultry industry.
Defra said all affected birds will be humanely culled after a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza was found in chickens on farms near Attleborough and Honington, a village south of Thetford, on Sept. 19.
A protection zone of 3 km and a security zone of 10 km have been established around both contaminated buildings.
Those zones include increased biosecurity and reporting requirements for poultry farmers, including isolating or housing birds, restrictions on the movement of poultry, eggs, meat and carcasses.
These are the latest developments in an unprecedented outbreak that has already seen 125 cases of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza confirmed by the government across England.
Another case was also confirmed last weekend in a backyard poultry flock in Little Livermere, near Bury St Edmunds, on Sept. 17.
The most recent Norfolk cases were near Holt on Sept. 3, and at a poultry farm in Gayton, near King’s Lynn, on Aug. 21 — just five days after the lifting of a National Avian Flu Prevention Zone (AIPZ), which enforced strict regulations. imposed biosecurity rules on poultry and captive birds.
Defra said the risk to poultry had been reduced to “low”, but stressed that all bird keepers should “follow improved measures at all times” to prevent future outbreaks – with “accurate biosecurity” being the most effective method of disease control.
John Newton, Norfolk County adviser to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), said the new cases are “news for the vital poultry industry in our region and highlight that avian influenza remains a risk”.
“We urge all bird keepers to remain vigilant and adopt enhanced biosecurity measures to help prevent future outbreaks,” he added.
While avian flu is potentially devastating to commercial poultry and wild birds, Public Health England (PHE) advises that the public health risk from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk to UK consumers.