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Protection zone in place after new bird flu case

Published on Monday, 20th December 2021

Birdkeepers living in and around Sheepy Parva are being urged to follow a range of restrictions after a case of bird flu was confirmed.

Trading Standards officers from Leicestershire County Council will be knocking on doors and sending letters to properties within a 3km zone to give bird owners advice and where necessary, arrange a health inspection by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has put 3km and 10km zones in place within which all bird keepers have to follow increased biosecurity measures to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

The council’s highways teams are also putting up information signs to inform drivers they are entering an area with restrictions.

The fifth case in Leicestershire follows recent outbreaks at commercial poultry premises near Barrow upon Soar in Charnwood and a rise in cases across the country.

Councillor Deborah Taylor, cabinet member for regulatory services, said: “It’s important we all do what we can to reduce the spread of the disease and we are continuing to work closely with the Government. I’d urge all bird keepers to follow the legal requirements and although the risk to residents is very low, I’d remind people not to touch or pick up any dead or sick birds.”

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease but we are continuing to see a growing number of bird flu cases on farms and in backyard flocks across the country. Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.

“It is now a legal requirement to keep your birds indoors to keep them separate from wild birds which spread the disease. It is also vital that you maintain strong biosecurity by regularly checking and maintaining sheds and cleaning and disinfecting footwear to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Don’t walk the virus into your hens.”

Bird keepers in the area must now follow a range of restrictions relating to the movement of poultry and material associated with their keeping.

Find out if you’re in a disease control zone and details of the restrictions:

The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked eggs and poultry are safe to eat.

How to spot avian influenza (bird flu), what to do if you suspect it, and measures to prevent it.