7:23 AM March 29, 2022
A further case of bird flu has been identified in Stowmarket – the seventh confirmed outbreak in Suffolk in the space of a month.
Suffolk Trading Standards has confirmed that the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 is present in a backyard flock of poultry, near Stowmarket.
It comes after outbreaks were confirmed at a location in Redgrave, a duck farm also in Redgrave where 35,000 ducks were humanely culled, two in Woodbridge and a chicken farm in Elmswell.
The outbreak in Stowmarket was confirmed last night (March 28) and Suffolk Trading Standards has also confirmed that all poultry on the infected premises will now be humanely culled.
A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone has been put in place around the premises.
Trading standards officers will be going knocking on doors of those who live in the 3km protection zone to help them and the Animal and Plant Health Agency establish where poultry are housed.
The disease has been discovered at sites including at Wells-next-the-Sea, North Fambridge near Maldon and Frinton-on-Sea in November and Great Cornard, near Sudbury, in December. Disease control zones around these sites are no longer in place.
The UK’s chief veterinary officer is now urging poultry keepers in Suffolk to keep birds indoors following the number of outbreaks.
Christine Middlemiss made the warning after a recent spike of cases in the county, with five new premises becoming infected in the last month alone.
She said: “We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease including by introducing housing measures.
“However we are still seeing a number of bird flu cases both on commercial farms and in backyard birds right across Suffolk.
“Many poultry keepers in Suffolk have excellent biosecurity standards but the number of cases we are seeing suggests that not enough is being done by all bird keepers to keep bird flu out.”
Bird keepers within the protection zone must cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, vehicles and equipment before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing and minimize direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds.