Bird flu confirmed at Kent farm

Avian influenza H5N2 has been confirmed at a small commercial premises near Deal in Kent today (2nd November), the Animal and Plant Agency has revealed.

Avian influenza H5N2 has been confirmed at a small commercial premises near Deal in Kent today (2nd November), the Animal and Plant Agency has revealed.

All 480 birds on-site will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease and a 1km low pathogenic avian influenza restricted zone has been put in place around the infected farm.

Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. There will be no impact on food supply as this business does not supply poultry meat or eggs to the commercial food chain.

“Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.

“We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it.”

A detailed investigation is in progress to determine the most likely source of this outbreak.

The UK has remained free of highly pathogenic avian influenza since September 2017. A low pathogenic H5N3 strain of the disease, which poses no threat to human health, returned in December 2019. The UK declared itself free from avian influenza H5N3 in June.

The government has issued the following advice to farmers:

  • Keep the area where birds live clean and tidy, control rats and mice and regularly cleanse and disinfect any hard surfaces
  • Clean footwear before and after visits
  • Place birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly
  • Put fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limit their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl
  • Where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species.

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