Homes and businesses in Essex to get visit over bird flu following outbreak

A bird flu outbreak has been detected in Essex. Credit: PA Wire

Officials are set to visit around 1,200 homes and businesses close to an outbreak of bird flu.

They will be looking for anyone with poultry living within 3km of the outbreak, after an outbreak was reported on Tuesday at Tolleshunt Major near Maldon in Essex.

The outbreak is the third in the county in the past year.

Avian influenza is a disease which mainly affects birds, but on rare occasions, it can affect mammals, including humans - although in this case, Defra says the outbreak is confined to poultry.

People in direct contact with the affected birds have been contacted and offered appropriate preventative treatment, said Defra. Anyone living in the area who is concerned is advised to contact their GP or call 111.

Dr David Edwards, consultant in health protection at UK Health Security Agency East, said: “Avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

"We are working closely with APHA and Defra to monitor the situation and have provided the necessary public health advice to anyone on site as a precaution.

“Try not to touch any sick or dead birds and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap after contact with any animal.”

John Spence from Essex County Council said: “It is important that we put the correct precautions in place and working with Defra and Maldon District Council this is what we have done.

“We will be visiting around 1,200 premises around the site of the outbreak, and offering information and advice, over the coming days.”

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