BIRDS at a premises in County Durham will be culled after an outbreak of avian flu was confirmed.

The outbreak was confirmed at a premises near Middleton-in-Teesdale, in Upper Teesdale on December 14.

All birds in the domestic flock will be humanely culled, it was confirmed.

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Defra has set up a 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone around the premises.

A spokesperson said: “Animal health officers from Durham County Council are supporting the enforcement response in these areas and will be visiting residents to offer advice and guidance around restrictions that apply within the zones.

“We can reassure you that the risk to public health is very low as Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds.

“However, we would ask you to be vigilant of signs of the disease and report any concerns to your nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office on 03000 200 301.”

Darlington and Stockton Times:

There are now 50 disease control zones in England and Scotland, including 12 in North Yorkshire and one in Tyne and Wear.

The disease was found at a ninth premises near Thirsk, in North Yorkshire on Thursday.

There are also disease control zones in place around two premises in Leeming bar, one in Richmond, and one in Washington, in Tyne and Wear.

Concern is growing among conservationists and nature lovers as the UK’s “largest ever” bird flu outbreak continues to grow.

Earlier this month the RSPB said High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is affecting a range of poultry operations across the UK.

Wild bird species involved are mostly geese, ducks and swans, but a number of birds of prey have also been confirmed to have died.

Around half a million birds have been culled so far, according to UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss.

The clinical signs of avian influenza include the sudden onset of:

• watery swelling of the head

• blueing of the comb and wattles

• dullness

• off food

• respiratory distress

• diarrhoea

• drop in egg production; increased mortality with some sudden deaths


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