Bird flu outbreak hits chicken farm in Suffolk

An outbreak of bird flu has been identified at a commercial chicken farm in Suffolk.

A ‘low pathogenic avian flu of the H5 strain’ was identified at the farm, which had 27,000 chickens. The birds will now be culled, and a 1km exclusion zone near the village of Athelington has been put in place.

‘Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers,’ said Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer of DEFRA.

‘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 strain to control and eliminate it.’

The outbreak of the virus is the first in Britain for almost four years — the last was in Dunfermline in 2016. Thankfully, this outbreak involves a ‘a less serious strain of H5 avian influenza’, according to DEFRA.  Affected birds suffer ‘mild breathing problems’ but ‘will not always show clear signs of infection.’