UK Confirms First Case of H5N8 Strain of The Avian Flu

The risk to public health from the virus is very low and this strain of avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk

Avian influenza of the H5N8 strain was confirmed at a turkey fattening premises near Northallerton on Saturday 28 November.

All 10,500 birds at the farm will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease. A 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been put in place around the infected site to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Avian flu has been confirmed at a commercial turkey fattening farm near Northallerton, North Yorkshire. Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and all the remaining turkeys at the farm will be culled. Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said:

A detailed investigation is in progress to determine the most likely source of this outbreak. There is not anticipated to be any impact on the supplies of turkeys or other birds over Christmas.

To date the World Health Organization has never confirmed any cases of H5N8 in humans and the risk to the public is considered very low. Said Dr Gavin Dabrera, Consultant in Acute Respiratory Infections at PHE

Wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter period can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds. There are some simple measures that all poultry keepers, whether they are running a large commercial farm, keeping a few hens in their back garden, or rearing game birds, should take to protect their birds against the threat of avian flu.

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