Poultry keepers urged to protect flocks, as bird-flu cases rise

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The UK government has urged poultry keepers to take action to protect their flocks this winter, as 41 cases of bird-flu have been confirmed. 

Last month, the chief veterinary officers for England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland introduced new housing measures to protect poultry and captive birds from avian influenza. 

The new measures, which came into force on 29 November, made is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures to limit the spread of disease.

READ MORE: FSA warns meat producers of ‘short interruptions’ before Christmas 

Other precautionary measures include regularly cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles when entering or exiting sites as well as limiting access to non-essential workers or visitors. 

“We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease but we are continuing to see a growing number of bird-flu cases on farms and in backyard flocks across the country,” UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said. 

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.” 

Wild birds that have migrated from mainland Europe in the winter months have carried the disease, which can lead to cases in poultry and captive birds. 

However, the risk to human health is very low and food standard bodies have advised that avian flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

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