Bird flu prevention zone imposed – BBC News

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Measures to protect poultry in England against a highly-infectious strain of avian flu in Europe have been announced by the government’s chief vet.

Prof Nigel Gibbens said risk to humans was low and no UK cases had been found.

But keepers of chickens, turkeys and ducks are being required to keep them indoors for 30 days or take steps to separate them from wild birds.

The H5N8 bird flu strain has been found in poultry and wild birds in France, Sweden and other nations.

The precautionary measures announced by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) apply to farmers and anyone who keeps any birds, even those with a few chickens in their back garden.

Farmers are being asked to look for signs of infection and to take robust disinfectant measures.

Members of the public are also being told to report cases of dead wild waterfowl – such as swans, geese and ducks – or gulls, or five or more dead birds of other species to Defra.

Defra said it had increased its surveillance, and keepers are being urged to make sure feed and water is not accessible to wild birds.

Prof Gibbens said: “We are closely monitoring the situation across Europe and have scaled up surveillance in response to the heightened risk.

“As a precaution, and to allow time for poultry and captive bird keepers to put in place appropriate biosecurity measures, we have declared a 30-day prevention zone to reduce the risk of infection from wild birds.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38231416