Avian flu confirmed in southern Britain

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed on Monday evening that a case of avian flu was found in a chicken farm in Hampshire, southern England.

Defra said the severity of the case is very low and it posed very low risk to human health. Tests have confirmed the outbreak as H7 strain of the disease.

So far, a one-kilometer poultry movement restriction zone has been imposed and the birds at the commercial chicken breeding farm are to be slaughtered as part of Defra’s procedures for responding to the outbreak of bird flu.

“Based on what we know about this strain of avian influenza and the actions that have been taken, the risk to human health in this case is considered very low. Public Health England continues to work closely with Defra throughout this investigation,” said Nick Phin, director for Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control.

Food Standards Agency said the avian flu didn’t pose a food safety risk for British consumers. While laboratory investigations on the outbreak indicated that it was the N7 sub-type of H7 but this would need to be confirmed in further testing.

Earlier in November, H5N8 strain was found at a duck farm in northern Yorkshire. Defra confirmed the H7 strain is a much less severe form than the H5N8, and there’s no links between the two cases.

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