Bird Flu outbreak confirmed as H5N8

THE DEPARTMENT of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed that the outbreak of bird flu in the UK is the same strain as that which has recently affected farms in Europe.

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The deadly disease, which Defra says poses only a very low risk to humans, was reported at a duck farm in Yorkshire earlier this week.


Since then, a cull of up to 6,000 birds has been sanctioned in order to stop the spread to other farms.

It was reported earlier in the month that farms in the Netherlands and Germany had also had outbreaks of the H5N8 avian influenza.

This latest case has caused concern amongst some European countries and today the Ukraine confirmed it was banning the imports of live birds and bird products from any country reporting cases indefinitely:  “The ban … will be valid until the international watchdog says these countries are free from bird flu,” an inspectorate official told Reuters.

Though the strain is deadly to birds, and was likely brought to the UK as a result of migration, H5N8 is not deadline to humans and can only spread through close direct contact with infected animals or their waste.