Bird flu outbreak confirmed near Appleby

Bird flu has been confirmed at a premises near Appleby.

A further bird flu outbreak has been confirmed in Cumbria.

A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been put in place around the premises near Appleby.

The birds will be humanely culled.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) issued the alert last night.

A bird flu outbreak has been confirmed at a property near Appleby. Credit: Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs

The zones restrict access to locations where birds are kept and impose restrictions on the movement of birds. They do not limit access to residents or business owners. 

The protection and surveillance zones will apply until the zone is withdrawn or amended by Defra.

Temporary road signs will be put in place along the zone boundaries for awareness.

People in direct contact with the premises have been contacted and offered preventative treatment.Colin Cox, Director of Public Health for Cumbria County Council, said the risk to public health "is very low"."However, it is important people do not touch or pick up any sick or dead birds to avoid spreading the virus, which can affect humans in rare cases," he said."If you do find any dead swans, geese or ducks, or other dead wild birds while out and about, please report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 or online: Report dead wild birds - GOV.UK ("I would also urge bird keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease and report any suspected cases to their nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency office.”

Anyone who is concerned should call NHS 111.

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss added that authorities had taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease.

“UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers," she said.“We have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Great Britain, so whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, it’s vital that all bird keepers take action to introduce higher biosecurity standards on their farm or small holdings.”

It follows an outbreak at a commercial poultry premises near Langwathby last month, which resulted in a three-kilometre protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone.

These measures remain in place.

There have been 170 confirmed cases of avian influenza in the UK since 1 October 2022.