LONDON, ENGLAND — A highly pathogenic strain of bird flu has been identified at a duck breeding farm in northern England, officials said on early Monday. It was not immediately clear whether it is the same strain that has also been found at farms in the Netherlands and Germany.
The British Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said the highly pathogenic bird flu strain was identified at a duck breeding farm in East Riding of Yorkshire. "Immediate action has been taken, including introducing a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) restriction zone and culling all poultry on the farm to prevent any potential spread of infection," the department said in a statement.
A declaration by the department requires those keeping poultry or other birds within the restriction zone to take a number of measures in an effort to prevent any spread of the disease. Measures taken include a ban on the movement of poultry, eggs, poultry meat, carcases and poultry litter.
"We have confirmed a case of avian flu on a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire – the public health risk is very low and there is no risk to the food chain," a Defra spokeswoman said, adding that a detailed investigation is underway.
The news came just a day after the Dutch government confirmed that the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu strain had been found at a poultry farm in Hekendorp, a village in the central province of Utrecht, about 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) south of Amsterdam. It also comes less than two weeks after H5N8 was found at a farm in northeastern Germany, which made it the continent's first known case of the strain.
It is not yet known whether the strain found at the duck breeding farm in East Riding is also H5N8, but laboratory results are expected later on Monday.
H5N8 is a highly contagious bird flu strain which is deadly for chickens and could be passed on to humans who are in close contact with infected birds, though there has never been a confirmed human case so far. Dutch officials have advised anyone who feels ill after having been to an infected farm to seek medical help.
The European Commission is expected to hold an emergency meeting later on Monday to discuss protective measures against a bird flu outbreak.