Read more about bird flu (avian influenza)
This morning a case of H7N7 avian flu was confirmed on a Lancashire chicken farm near Preston. This is the same strain that caused an outbreak at a farm in Hampshire in February. Further detail on the current outbreak can be found here.
Defra initiated its Contingency Plan immediately to prevent the spread of infection. Culling of all poultry on the farm began over the weekend in anticipation of positive results of testing. A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been put in place around the infected site, restricting all movement of poultry, captive birds or mammals except under licence. These measures were taken during previous outbreaks in Yorkshire last year and Hampshire in February, both of which were successfully contained.
Public Health England have advised that the risk to public health is very low, and the Food Standards Agency have said that there is no food safety risk for consumers.
We are not certain of the source at present, although based on the time of year it is highly unlikely that migratory wild birds are responsible for this outbreak. A Defra investigation into the source is ongoing and we will update this blog with new information as and when it becomes available.