UK sees first bird flu outbreak since 2017; 27,000 chickens to be culled: officials

The bird flu has been detected at a commercial chicken farm in the United Kingdom, officials announced this week. The outbreak is the first in the country since 2017.

In a Tuesday statement, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said that “low pathogenic avian flu of the H5 strain” was confirmed at a commercial chicken farm in Mid Suffolk. All of the chickens at the farm – 27,000 to be exact – will be humanely killed in an effort to prevent the disease from spreading.

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A 1-km. (0.6 miles) restriction zone around the farm is also in place.

Officials said 27,000 chickens will be culled as a result of the outbreak.

Officials said 27,000 chickens will be culled as a result of the outbreak. (iStock)

Officials with Public Health England said the risk of infection to the public is “very low,” while the Food Standards Agency “has made clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for U.K. consumers. Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat,” officials said.

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“Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises,” said Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, in a statement. “We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this strain to control and eliminate it.”

At this time, the source of the outbreak is not known but a “detailed investigation” is currently in progress, officials said.