Bird flu cases confirmed in two separate game farms

Highly pathogenic bird flu has been confirmed in two separate game farms, in Staffordshire and Cheshire, Defra has confirmed.

The latest case of avian influenza was detected on Friday (8 September) in pheasants near Warrington, Cheshire.

A day before, the disease was confirmed on another game farm, located near Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone have been declared around both premises.

The risk of bird flu in wild birds in Britain is currently assessed as ‘high’, but the risk of poultry exposure is now ‘low’.

Since late 2021, the UK and Europe have been experiencing one of the worst avian influenza outbreaks on record, with tens of millions of poultry culled.

Earlier this year, four poultry workers in England contracted avian influenza after they came into contact with infected birds.

Despite this, the government recently lifted the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) for poultry and captive birds, introduced to help stop the spread of bird flu.

Dr Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s chief veterinary officer, said ‘scrupulous biosecurity’ remained the most critical form of defence to help keep birds safe.

She said: “The unprecedented nature of this outbreak has proven it’s more important than ever for bird keepers to remain vigilant for signs of disease and maintain stringent standards of biosecurity.”