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Avian Flu confirmed in farm near Boston

Lincolnshire County Council has been informed by the Chief Veterinary Officer that Avian Flu has been found at a farm near Boston.

Mark Keal and his team at Trading Standards are now working closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency, East Lindsey and Boston Borough's environmental health officers and emergency planning teams to contain the infection.

The farm, located between Stickney and Frithville, has a 3 km Protection zone and a 10 km Surveillance zone in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

The flock is estimated to contain approximately 19,500 birds. A number have died and the remaining live birds at the premises are being humanely culled.

The advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens, has said: "We have taken swift action to limit the risk of the disease spreading with restrictions in place around the affected premises. A full investigation is underway to determine the source of the infection.

"This finding reminds us that we must all be vigilant for signs of disease and take steps to minimise the risk of birds catching the disease from wild birds - either directly or through the environment.

"This means complying with the legal requirement currently in place to house birds or otherwise keep them separate from wild birds and following strict biosecurity measures to minimise the risk of avian flu spreading via the environment."

This is the same strain which was found in a farm in East Lindsey and a number of backyard flocks in Wales and North Yorkshire, as well as in a number of wild birds in England, Wales and Scotland.

The Chief Vet has issued advice for people with backyard poultry on how to limit the risk to their birds. This can be accessed: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#backyard-flocks  Steps could include: keeping birds in a suitable building where possible and taking precautions such as putting up netting, keeping food and water inside and disinfecting footwear, vehicles and equipment after contact with birds.

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.

We will update you on the teams progress or when more information is available. Information will also be regularly posted on http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk