BIRD FLU OUTBREAK: Derbyshire farmers asked to keep poultry indoors

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Derbyshire farmers are being asked to keep their poultry indoors to help prevent an outbreak of a highly-infectious strain of avian flu which has been found in Europe.

Outbreaks for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8) have been confirmed in poultry and wild birds in several countries across Europe.

Although no cases of H5N8 have been found in the UK, the government’s chief vet has declared a prevention zone across England requiring keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

Public Health England has said the threat to human health is very low.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: “While no cases of H5N8 avian flu have been found in the UK, and PHE advises the public health threat is low, we are closely monitoring the situation across Europe and have scaled up surveillance in response to the heightened risk.

“As a precaution, and to allow time for poultry and captive bird keepers to put in place appropriate biosecurity measures, we have declared a 30-day Prevention Zone to reduce the risk of infection from wild birds.

“Even when birds are housed a risk of infection remains so this must be coupled with good biosecurity - for example disinfecting clothing and equipment, reducing poultry movement and minimising contact between poultry and wild birds.

“Poultry keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns.”