Bird flu outbreak discovered and poultry culled on farm near Wooler in Northumberland

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An outbreak of avian influenza, better known as bird flu, has been confirmed at a Northumberland poultry farm.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone has been set up around the premises in Milfield, near Wooler, and all birds on site will be culled.

The disease primarily affects birds and the risk to human health is low, but it can spread quickly between flocks.

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Northumberland County Council officers will be visiting addresses within the protection zone to inform them of the outbreak and identify backyard flocks that need increased protection.

The outbreak was discovered on a farm near Wooler. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)The outbreak was discovered on a farm near Wooler. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
The outbreak was discovered on a farm near Wooler. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Bird keepers in the area are also being advised to undertake extra biosecurity measures, such as disinfecting equipment, clothing, and vehicles when entering or exiting sites and limiting the access of non-essential visitors.

Councillor Gordon Stewart, cabinet member for looking after our communities, said: “Trading Standards is working closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to ensure that the required control measures are in place for dealing with this incident.

“Foot patrols are underway to identify other captive birds and poultry in the vicinity with a view to helping keepers to protect them from the spread of the disease.

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“Bird keepers should ensure that they maintain good biosecurity on their premises and remain alert for any signs of disease.

“Where bird flu is suspected it should be reported immediately and moving birds off your premises, even to seek veterinary assistance, should be avoided.”

Signage has been put in place to warn people entering the protection zone of the outbreak, and that they will require a licence from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs to move poultry, captive birds, or eggs in the area.

Members of the public have also been advised to report dead or visibly sick wild birds to the department by calling 03459335577, and that they must report any birds they own, even as pets, by calling 03000200301 if they suspect they are infected.

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Gill O’Neil, the council’s executive director of public health, said: “I can reassure the public that this is a disease which affects birds, and the UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to human health is very low.

“Please remember not to touch sick or dead birds and to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact with any other animal.”