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Avian flu confirmed at Lowdham poultry farm

11 May 2022

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An outbreak of avian flu has been confirmed at a commercial poultry farm near Lowdham in Nottinghamshire, days after the Government relaxed the UK’s mandatory housing measures for poultry and captive birds.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team is issuing advice and working with Newark and Sherwood District Council and other partner agencies to reduce the risk of the spread of the disease.  A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been put in place around the infected premises to restrict animal movements and visits. Nottinghamshire Trading Standards is reminding all bird keepers in the 3km and 10km zones that it is a legal requirement to follow the measures that are in place in these areas. Details of the disease control zone can be found on the UK Government’s website: Avian influenza (bird flu): cases and disease control zones in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Trading Standards officers will be visiting properties in the 3km protection zone to identify any households keeping any type of captive bird or poultry and advise them of the new restrictions. Road signs will also be in place to notify people that they are entering the 10km surveillance zone.

Avian Influenza is in no way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is not carried in poultry. UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advises that although the risk to human health from the virus is very low, people can catch bird flu via direct contact with a live or dead bird carrying the virus, or via direct contact with bird faeces from a bird carrying the virus. Therefore, it is vital that anyone spotting any sick or dead birds does not touch them and that they contact the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

It is important to stress however that humans cannot catch bird flu via airborne particles. Food standards bodies also advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. There is no impact on the consumption of properly cooked poultry products including eggs.

Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “The news of this confirmed case of avian flu in Nottinghamshire is upsetting and will obviously be of concern to residents and visitors to the area. However, the risk of the disease transferring from birds to humans is considered to be very low. That said, it is important that local bird owners know about the restrictions and follow the rules that are in place within the protection and surveillance zones. I also want to remind people not to touch or move any sick or dead birds that they find and for dog owners to keep their pets away from them.”

Anyone who finds dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey should report them to the DEFRA helpline (03459 33 55 77).

Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in England to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with avian flu advice which can be found on the gov.uk website. Although it is optional for people with less than 50 poultry or captive birds to register their birds with Defra, they are advised to do so to ensure they get regular updates on this order.

For further information search “avian influenza” at GOV.UK and to register poultry visit www.gov.uk/guidance/poultry-registration.

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