A case of Avian Influenza (otherwise known as Bird Flu) has been confirmed at a premises in Salwick, near Preston.
Avian Influenza is a disease which mainly affects birds, but on rare occasions, it can affect mammals including humans. Consequently, a number of precautionary measures are being put in place.
The response is being led locally by Lancashire County Council, Fylde Borough Council, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency).
A 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been declared around the premises.
Temporary road signs will make people aware as they arrive and leave this zone. This control zone restricts access to locations where birds are kept and restrictions on the movement of birds.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing for Lancashire County Council, said: “I want to reassure residents that the risk to public health from avian flu is very low.
“However, it is important that people do not pick up any sick or dead birds to avoid spreading the virus, which can affect humans in rare cases.
“If you do find any dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds while out and about, please report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.
“I would also urge bird keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease and report any suspected cases to their nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency office.”
People in direct contact with the premises have been contacted and offered appropriate preventative treatment.
Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. However, anyone who is concerned should call NHS 111 or speak to their GP.
UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed at a commercial poultry premises in Lancashire. We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease and any birds at risk of infection will now be humanely culled.
“UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
“We have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Great Britain, so whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, it’s vital that all bird keepers take action to introduce higher biosecurity standards on their farm or small holdings.”
You can find the area covered by the zone online at: https://defra.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8cb1883eda5547c6b91b5d5e6aeba90d
Find out more about Avian Flu at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
You can read the declaration from Defra online at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1033355/tcz-declaration-ip6-fylde.pdf
Advice for people who keep birds is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#biosecurity
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