Cases of H5N8 avian influenza have been detected in broiler chickens at a commercial premises near Uttoxeter, east Staffordshire, England, just days before the UK’s housing order is set to end.
The discovery was made on Saturday (March 27); however, the pathogenicity is yet to be confirmed.
3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been declared around the premises and all poultry on the site will be culled.
Meanwhile, cases of H5N3 avian influenza detected in turkeys on a farm near Winsford, Cheshire, on Friday (March 26) have been confirmed to be of a low pathogenic strain.
Following confirmation of the low pathogenicity yesterday (Sunday, March 28), the 1km Temporary Movement Restriction Zone has been replaced with a 1km low pathogenic avian influenza Restricted Zone.
What is the risk to local poultry?
The discoveries come just days before the mandatory housing order for poultry is set to be lifted in Britain on Wednesday (March 31).
However, no decision has been made to lift the housing order in Northern Ireland yet.
The risk of avian influenza to both wild and kept birds in Britain was reduced to ‘medium’ on March 19.
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, which requires enhanced biosecurity, will remain in force. However, Wednesday will be the last day poultry and other captive birds will need to be housed, with restrictions set to end at midnight.
Bird gatherings are still prohibited. High standards of biosecurity remain essential as infection may still be present in the environment.