An outbreak of avian flu has been identified at a farm in Kent, a town in the UK’s countryside.
A total of 480 birds have been culled to stop the spread of the disease. Just two weeks ago, the UK’s bird flu threat was raised from “low” to “medium” after two Dutch swans were found to be infected with the virus. The outbreak was confirmed at a commercial premise near Deal in Kent on Monday, November 2.
“Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and all remaining poultry and captive birds at the farm will be culled,” Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s chief veterinary officer, said to The Independent UK.
Public Health England (PHE) said that the threat of bird flu to the public is quite low despite the “medium” warning.
“Avian influenza remains an uncommon infection in humans,” Dr Gavin Dabrera from PHE said.
The public has been advised not to touch any sick or dead birds, and to wash hands thoroughly with soap following contact with any animal.
The outbreak at the Kent site involved avian influenza of the H5N2 strain, the government said. The Food Standards Agency has said this strain does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
“The wider risk posed by avian influenzas through the food chain is very low,” a spokesperson said.
The origins of the outbreak is under investigation.