Chelford Market at centre of avian flu investigation

Investigations into an outbreak H7N2 low pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in North Wales are centring on Chelford Market in Cheshire.

The chief veterinary officer for Wales, Dr Christianne Glossop has confirmed that 15 chickens found to be infected with the disease at a smallholding near Corwen were bought at the market .

Dr Glossop said: “Chelford Market is one line of inquiry Animal Health are following in the ongoing investigation.

“As part of the tracing exercise, I would urge anyone, who has not already been contacted by Animal Health officials, and who has purchased from or supplied to Chelford Market in Cheshire on Monday 7 May 2007 or any poultry keeper who visited Chelford Market on this date whose birds have subsequently become ill to contact their local Animal Health Office or the DEFRA helpline.

“An important part of disease control is finding the source of infection.  It has to be a very thorough process with a number of lines of inquiry to follow.

“In the meantime, all bird keepers throughout Wales should continue their efforts to maintain high levels of biosecurity and maintain vigilance by continuing to monitor their birds for signs of disease.

“If you are concerned about the health of your birds you should seek the advice of your veterinary surgeon, if you suspect that your birds have avian influenza you should report it to your Local Animal Health Office.”

The DEFRA helpline number is 08459 33 55 77. (Open between 9am – 5pm 7 days a week).

Since the disease was confirmed last weekend two people have also positive for the H7N2 strain.

To find out more read FWi’s special report on avian flu.