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Bird flu Gillingham avianAn outbreak of avian flu has been discovered among poultry in Gillingham.

The government said in a statement that all the birds concerned will be destroyed and a 3km protection zone has been established.

In a statement the department for the environment, food and rural affairs said: ‘Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed in backyard poultry near Gillingham, North Dorset, Dorset on 19 December 2020. All birds on the premises will be humanely culled. A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone has been declared.’

Neil Martin, principal trading standards officer at Dorset Council, said: ‘Since 14 December 2020, all poultry and captive birds must be housed under rules issued by the Animal and Plant Health Agency. Due to the increase in cases of Avian Influenza (bird flu) found in both wild birds and commercial poultry flocks these additional rules were brought in to prevent further spread of the disease. The risk to human health at this time has been confirmed as low and it is safe to eat poultry products.’

The authorities say that avian influenza or bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. Anyone who suspects any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

Defra says all bird keepers – whether a person has pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock – must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times.

‘If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek prompt advice from your vet,’ said a Defra spokesperson.

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