Hampshire & Isle of Wight

'Low severity' bird flu case at Hampshire farm

Bird flu notice
Image caption Tests have confirmed the outbreak as a "low severity" H7 strain of the disease

A case of bird flu has been confirmed in chickens at a farm in Hampshire, government scientists have said.

Tests showed the outbreak as a "low severity" H7 strain of the disease, a much less serious form than the H5N8 strain found at a Yorkshire duck farm, in November.

There are no links between the two cases, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

It said "robust action" was being taken to prevent any spread of the disease.

A 1km poultry movement restriction zone has been imposed and the birds at the commercial chicken breeding farm will be culled, Defra said.

'Very concerning'

According to advice from Public Health England (PHE), Defra, which has not confirmed exactly where the disease had been traced, said the strain posed very low risk to human health.

In a statement though, George Hollingberry MP said the outbreak was on a farm in Upham.

Mr Hollingberry, MP for Meon Valley, said: "[It] is obviously very concerning and I've been liaising closely with Public Health England, based in Fareham, Hampshire County Council and Defra throughout today to ensure I'm kept up to date with developments.

"There is no doubt the authorities are taking it very seriously and regular updates will be issued in due course."

Defra said it does not identify individual cases.

PHE has said the Public Food Standards Agency confirmed there was no food safety risk for consumers.

'Be vigilant'

Chief vet Nigel Gibbens said: "We have taken immediate action to contain this outbreak as part of our robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu."

An investigation into the possible sources of the outbreak is under way

"I would urge poultry keepers in the surrounding area to be vigilant for any signs of disease and to ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises," Mr Gibbens added.

A spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency said: "Laboratory investigations on the outbreak indicate that it is the N7 sub-type of H7 but this will need to be confirmed in further testing."

Defra said anyone suspecting avian influenza should immediately contact their nearest Animal and Plant and Health Agency (APHA) office.

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