Highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu) has been confirmed in poultry at three further premises across Suffolk and Norfolk.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) confirmed the H5N1 strain of the disease at a second premises near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk on Saturday (October 1).

They also confirmed the strain at a third and fourth premises in Norfolk, both near Attleborough, Breckland.

In line with bird flu guidelines, 3km Protection Zones and 10km Surveillance Zones have been put in place around each site.

All birds on the infected premises will be humanely culled.

Bird flu

These outbreaks come in the wake of numerous cases throughout England.

Most recent cases include one in Suffolk on Thursday (September 29) and another outbreak in North Yorkshire on Wednesday (September 28).

Following a number of detections of bird flu in poultry and wild captive birds across east England, a regional Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared on September 27, active in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex.

Within the AIPZ, there is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to implement enhanced biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks.

For details of outbreaks and the measures that apply in the disease control zones in England, visit the Defra website.

Between June 11 and September 9 this year, 788 virus detections were reported in 16 EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and the UK. 56 of these were in poultry, 22 in other captive birds, and the remainder (711) in wild birds.

The current bird flu season in Europe as a whole has seen 2,467 outbreaks in poultry and 47.5 million birds culled in affected establishments. In addition, 187 detection were notified in captive birds and 3,573 bird flu events were recorded in wild birds.

The geographical reach of this current epidemic is considered unprecedented, with reported cases ranging from the Svalbard islands north of Norway, down to southern Portugal, and as far east as Ukraine, affecting 37 countries in total.