A smallholding near St Helens in Merseyside has poultry which has tested positively for low pathogenic H7 avian influenza.

Birds at the holding were purchased from the market held in Chelford on 7 May associated with the recent outbreak of H7N2 low pathogenic avian influenza in Conwy, North Wales.

Fred Landeg, deputy chief veterinary officer said: “The tests were carried out as part of the normal tracings activity which is underway following the outbreak in Wales.

“This is an extensive exercise, and this is the only premises to date with evidence of infection.”

A restricted zone has been put in place extending 1km from the holding.

Animal Health is tracing movements and contacts, and all the birds at the holding will be slaughtered.

The necessary surveillance and all appropriate worker protection measures have been put in place. 

DEFRA is working closely with the Health Protection Agency on all potential human health aspects.

Read our UKspecial report into avian flu.

Comment from Richard Allison, Poultry World editor:

“The latest case of the low pathogenic H7N2 avian flu on a farm near St Helens, Merseyside, highlights the need for vigilance by poultry keepers when buying birds at markets.

Government vets have confirmed that the infected birds were purchased from the same market on the same day (7 May) as birds involved in the Welsh outbreak in May.

While the poultry industry breathes a sigh of relief that it’s the low pathogenic virus, just image if it was the high pathogenic H5N1 strain. The virus would have spread over north Wales and northern England…

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