Thousands of chickens to be culled after bird flu outbreak at UK farm

More than 13,000 chickens are to be slaughtered following an outbreak of bird flu at a British farm.

Birds are to be "humanely culled" at a commercial farm in Cheshire after a positive case of avian flu was confirmed.

A 3km “prevention zone” has been cordoned off to stop the infection spreading.

The case, which was found at Helsby near Frodsham in Liverpool, was reported on Monday, The Echo reports.

Tests have found that the highly pathogenic strain of bird flu is related to the virus that is spreading through Europe.

Avian influenza is unrelated to Coronavirus.

Around 13,500 birds at the farm will have to be killed to stop the disease spreading.

Public Health England said that the risk is “very low” for the public and said properly cooked poultry, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Cheshire Council’s cabinet member for environment, councillor Karen Shore, said: “Public Health England have confirmed the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

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"We are working locally to support residents, local businesses and premises who may be affected as well as providing information to help manage the infection."

A Food Standards Agency spokesperson said: "Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, remain safe to eat."

Clinical signs that poultry keepers should look for in their birds include a swollen head, discolouration of neck and throat, loss of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhoea and fewer eggs laid – although clinical signs vary between species of bird.

H5N8 avian influenza is currently circulating in wild birds and poultry in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, causing clinical signs in affected birds.

It comes just a day after it was reported that hundreds of birds will be culled following a similar outbreak at a farm in Kent.

A 1km restricted zone had been placed around the premises near Deal "to prevent the disease spreading".

In late October, the bird flu threat in the UK was raised from ‘low’ to ‘medium’.

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