Bird flu outbreak

Bird flu has been confirmed in a handful of chickens and ducks
Bird flu has been confirmed in a handful of chickens and ducks
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A farm has been put in quarantine following an outbreak of BIRD FLU.

Bird flu has been confirmed in a handful of chickens and ducks on premises in Settle, North Yorks., according to the UK's Chief Veterinary Officer.

The small backyard flock of 17 birds are now set to be culled humanely to limit the spread of the H5N8 avian flu virus.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have also been put in place - but the risk to humans "is very low".

Speaking about the discovery, Professor Nigel Gibbens said: "We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

"Restrictions are now in place around the affected premises and a full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection.

"This finding in a backyard flock shows how essential it is for all poultry owners, even those who just keep a few birds as pets, to do everything they can to keep them separate from wild birds and minimise the risk of them catching avian flu via the environment.

"This means keeping birds in a suitable building where possible, and taking precautions such as putting up netting, keeping food and water inside and disinfecting footwear and equipment after contact with birds."

It is understood the affected flock included 17 chickens and ducks - several of which have already died.

H5N8 is the same strain which was found in a backyard flock in Carmarthenshire, Wales earlier this week and at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire last month.

Public Health England have said the risk to people from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear bird flu does not pose a food safety risk.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that has been in place since December 6 has been extended until February 28.

The zone requires keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds.