South West Wales

Fresh avian flu case found in Carmarthenshire back yard

Chickens Image copyright Thinkstock

Chickens and ducks have been found with avian flu at a property in Carmarthenshire.

The chief veterinary officer for Wales confirmed the H5N8 infections in a back yard in Pontyberem on Tuesday - after the birds had been culled.

It is the same strain of the virus found in an infected wild duck in Llanelli and turkeys in Lincolnshire.

A 3km (1.8 mile) protection zone and 10km (6.2 mile) surveillance zone have been put in place around the premises.

It comes on the same day the National Welsh Poultry Weekend in Pembrokeshire was cancelled over avian flu fears.

Public Health Wales has said the risk to public health was "very low" with the Food Standards Agency having also said avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

'Remain vigilant'

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: "It serves to reinforce the need for all bird keepers, particularly back yard flock keepers, to adhere to the requirements set out in the Prevention Zone, remain vigilant for signs of disease and practice good biosecurity at all times."

National Farmers Union Cymru president Stephen James said it remained in "close dialogue" with the Welsh Government on the issue and it was keeping members informed with the latest information.

The chief veterinary officer, Prof Christianne Glossop, said it was "extremely important" bird keepers practiced the "highest levels of biosecurity".

"Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.

"The movement of poultry should be minimized, and clothing and equipment should always be disinfected," she added.

Members of the public have been encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location.

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