Bird flu outbreak confirmed in Kirkham

A 10km 'red zone' has been put in place around Kirkham as Government officials have confirmed an outbreak of bird flu in the area.

The disease, which rarely spreads to humans but often proves fatal for birds, was found at a premise in the Fylde town yesterday afternoon.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "Avian influenza H5N1 has been confirmed in birds at a premises near Kirkham, Fylde, Lancashire. Further testing is underway to confirm the pathogenicity of the strain."

Temporary control zones spanning 3km and 10kms around the property have been set up, spanning from Blackpool to Fulwood. The measures apply to all farms and businesses within the marked area where either poultry or other captive birds are kept.

3km and 10km control zones have been put in place around Kirkham

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Poultry meat and eggs must not be transported outside the zone without first being approved by an inspector, and chickens must not be moved to a slaughterhouse without being examined by a vet 24 hours in advance.

It comes just two days after another case of bird flu was detected in Lancashire.

A 'highly pathogenic strain' was found at a poultry farm in Salwick, on the outskirts of Preston, on November 14. All birds there must now be culled to prevent further spread of the disease.

A 10km control zone, reaching Bamber Bridge, Lytham, Catterall and Much Hoole, remains in place.

A country-wide 'Avian Influenza Prevention Zone' was introduced by DEFRA on November 3 following confirmed outbreaks of bird flu in Scotland and Wales.

Bird owners must keep free-ranging birds in fenced areas to minimise contact, separate ducks and geese from other poultry, and clean and disinfect footwear before and after tending to their birds.

They must also clean and disinfect all their vehicles to prevent spread between premises, minimise the movement to and from bird areas, and keep records of poultry, captive bird and egg movements.

People with more than 50 birds must place foot dips containing Government-approved disinfectant at all entry and exit points.

Birds suspected to be suffering from the disease should not be touched. If you suspect an outbreak of bird flu in your area, contact the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

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