MOSCOW, November 16 (Sputnik) — British authorities confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza at a duck farm in England, a second case of bird flu on the European territory in the course of the weekend, AFP reports.
“We have confirmed a case of avian flu on a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire,” British officials said, adding that the strain doesn’t pose any danger to humans. "The public health risk is very low and there is no risk to the food chain," she said, however, not having specified, what type of the virus was detected at the Yorkshire farm.
The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) identified the disease as H5 avian flu and said it was working to determine the exact strain of the infection, though it added the strain could not be contracted by humans. "We have ruled out the H5N1 strain that is infectious for humans," the animal health agency stressed.
Bird flu can have fatal consequences for all bird species, and some of its strains can be highly contagious for people. H5N1 subtype claimed lives of about 400 people since it emerged in 2003, having a death rate of 60% among humans, according to WHO. H7N9 subtype was found in 2013 in China and killed more than 170 people since that time.
The case is reported to be the first in England since 2008. British officials set up an exclusion zone around the farm and started culling process as part of a complex of prevention and security measures.
On Sunday, a contagious H5N8 strain of bird flu, which is potentially passed on to humans, was detected at a chicken farm in Netherlands. To prevent the disease from spreading, Dutch authorities ordered the cull of 150,000 chickens at the affected farm and imposed a ban on poultry movement in the country. The same strain of avian flu was reported in Germany on November 4.
DEFRA Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens told Sky News the Yorkshire case might not be an isolated incident and warned of more possible cases to come.
"We have to recognize that the first case we find is not necessarily the first case that has occurred, which is why we put restrictions on the zone around the affected farm and look hard around there," Gibbens said.
The British ministry said, however, it had taken actions to prevent the further spread of the disease, including banning "movements of all poultry, products and waste within the [restriction] area". It also ordered the isolation of all poultry in the zone, and prohibited "bird gatherings", such as fairs, shows and exhibitions.
Enrico Brivio, a spokesperson for the European Commission for Environment, Health, Food Safety, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, applauded the decision of UK and Dutch officials to tighten controls on poultry in the wake of bird flu reports.
Speaking at a press briefing in Brussels, he said the governments acted under EC protocols that prescribed disinfection procedures, the creation of a security zone and monitoring.
Brivio said the European Commission was going to roll out a road map on how to contain the outbreak later on Monday.