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Bird flu alert for poultry keepers

Created on 04/01/2017 @ 11:33
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Poultry keepers across the area are being told to be aware after a confirmed case of bird flu was confirmed in a back yard flock of chickens and ducks in west Wales.

A three-kilometre Protection Zone and 10-kilometre Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises, to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

But those who keep poultry are advised to contact their veterinary surgeon if they are concerned about the health of their birds and if they suspect that their birds are showing signs of the disease are advised to immediately report it to the local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577.

The virus found in Carmarthenshire is the same strain of the virus identified in a wild duck in Llanelli last week, a turkey farm in Lincolnshire on December 16 and cases in wild, captive or domestic birds in many European countries, the Middle East and North Africa.

Farmers Union of Wales Senior Policy Officer Dr Hazel Wright said: “This is a worry for our poultry farmers and anyone who keeps chickens, ducks and other poultry in a small or private capacity. I urge those who keep birds to follow the official guidelines provided by the Chief Veterinary Officer and practise the highest level of biosecurity.”

The risk to public health is classed as low, that’s according to advice from Public Health Wales (PHW), and the Food Standards Agency has made it clear that avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Poultry keepers are further encouraged to provide details of their flocks to the Poultry Register, which will ensure they can be contacted immediately in the event of an avian disease outbreak so that they can take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.

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