Thousands of birds culled after Cheshire bird flu outbreak

Avian flu of the H5N8 strain has been confirmed at a farm near Frodsham in Cheshire, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has announced.

Avian flu of the H5N8 strain has been confirmed at a farm near Frodsham in Cheshire, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has announced.

All 13,000 birds at the farm, which produces hatching eggs, will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease. 3km and 10km temporary control zones have been put in place around the infected site to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further testing is underway to determine if it is a highly pathogenic strain, and whether it is related to the virus currently circulating in Europe. 

APHA says the case is unrelated to the H5N2 strain that was confirmed at a small commercial premises near Deal in Kent on the same day (2nd November).

Chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “Avian flu has been confirmed at a commercial farm near Frodsham in Cheshire. Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and all remaining poultry at the farm will be culled.

“Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

“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 the outbreak.

Wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter period can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds.


All poultry keepers should take the following steps to protect their birds against the threat of avian flu:

  • 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 limiting 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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