A new bird flu outbreak has led to a cull of 13,500 chickens - but should you be worried?

More than 13,000 birds are to be culled after a bird flu outbreak was confirmed at a farm in the northwest of England.

The virus was identified on a broiler breeders premises near Frodsham in Cheshire on 2 November.

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A 3km prevention zone has been set up around the farm area, and all the remaining 13,500 poultry on the farm will be humanely culled to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

The UK's chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said, "Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

“We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it."

Is there risk to the general public?

The government has advised that the risk to public health from the bird flu virus is very low.

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The Food Standards Agency advises that bird flu poses a very low safety risk. This means that properly cooked poultry and products including eggs remain safe to eat.

What is bird flu?

The Avian Flu - commonly known as bird flu - is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among birds, and, in rare cases, can affect humans.

The virus has several different strains. According to the NHS, the four strains that have caused the most concern in recent years are:

H5N1 (since 1997)H7N9 (since 2013)H5N6 (since 2014)H5N8 (since 2016)

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Although the H5N8 strain has not infected any humans worldwide to date, H5N1, H7N9 and H5N6 have infected several people around the world, leading to a number of deaths.

Bird flu is first contracted after close contact with an infected bird. This can include touching the birds, touching droppings or beddings, or killing and preparing infected poultry for cooking.

Main symptoms of bird flu can appear very quickly and include a very high temperature, aching muscles, a headache, and a cough.

The UK faced a major global outbreak of the virus in 2006 and 2007, after a strain was found in chickens at a Norfolk farm and a dead swan on the Fife coast. This led to severe restrictions of poultry sales nationwide, and the culling of birds across farms in the UK.