Tests have confirmed an avian flu outbreak in chickens at a farm in southern England but officials described it as low severity strain of the disease. The chickens at the farm in Hampshire are to be culled, and there is a 1 kilometre ban on moving poultry around the farm.
Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said, “There was no link with a separate outbreak of bird flu detected at a duck breeding farm in November. The advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health is very low.”
Laboratory tests have revealed that the outbreak was the H7 form of avian flu, described as less severe form of the H5N8 strain found at the duck farm.
Britain’s Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said, “This is a low severity form of the virus and we are taking action to ensure that the disease does not spread or develop into a more severe form. We are investigating the possible sources of the outbreak.”
Avian influenza can be fatal for birds, and also poses a health threat to humans, who can become ill after handling infected poultry.