Essex hit by bird flu outbreak at premises near Maldon


Chickens

The outbreak was found on Tuesday at a site near Heybridge, Maldon

A case of bird flu has been confirmed at a commercial premises in Essex.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) said the highly pathogenic avian flu virus – H5N1 – was found on Tuesday at a site near Heybridge, Maldon.

A 1.9 mile (3km) protection zone and six mile (10km) surveillance zone has been placed around the premises.

All poultry on the site would be culled humanely, the agency said. It comes three days after an outbreak at a site near Holt in north Norfolk.

Avian flu is spread by close contact with an infected bird, whether it is dead or alive.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website said the virus was “primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low”.

In August, APHA had lifted an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) that had been in place across Great Britain since 3 November.

An AIPZ was then declared in Cornwall, Devon, Isles of Scilly and part of Somerset on 31 August after a number of outbreaks in south-west England.

Last year, avian flu was confirmed elsewhere in Essex, at an animal sanctuary in Kirby Cross near Clacton.

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