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16 cases of bird flu confirmed in UK this year

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | March 24, 2020
More than a dozen cases of avian influenza have now been confirmed across the UK, with Northern Ireland most heavily infected.
Birds are relatively safe
Bird health   Birds are relatively safe
A total of 16 cases are believed to have been confirmed by authorities in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.

Topics: Bird flu UK

They are, however, all non-notifiable, low pathogenic strains of the virus. The far more dangerous highly pathogenic strain has been ruled out.

Defra said that the risk of high path avian influenza in both poultry and in wild birds remains low in the UK.

In NI, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said that 23 suspected cases of notifiable avian disease had been reported since 2 January this year. Avian influenza has been ruled out in 11 cases.

A spokesman said the presence of a non-notifiable strain of low pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H6N1, had been confirmed at 12 premises.

One of those affected was Ready Egg Products, which culled all 375,000 enriched cage birds on the site involved.

The low pathogenic virus is not notifiable and, as such, there is no requirement by the authorities to cull birds. However, Ready Egg took the decision unilaterally to remove the birds.

A similar strain was confirmed in Scotland - at a site run by Glenrath Farms. A Scottish government spokesperson said there had been other cases.