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PHE say Bird Flu Outbreak Public Health Risk is Low

July 14, 2015
Public Health

Public Health England (PHE) have confirmed that the risk to health from the H7N7 bird flu outbreak at a Lancashire poultry farm is still low. H7N7 can affect humans but Nick Phin, Deputy Director of PHE’s national infections service, says there is no need for immediate concern.

“We know that in 2003, a flu of this type in the Netherlands was a contributing factor to the death of a vet working on controlling the disease. We have learned from this incident and are confident of the precautions we have put in place, including the ongoing monitoring of handlers and workers,” He said.

A 1.8 mile inner protection zone and a six mile surveillance zone have been put in place around the farm in Goosnargh, north east of Preston. Restrictions imposed when the outbreak was first identified are still in place, stopping poultry farmers within the affected area from moving birds or mammals except under license.  A cull of 170,000 chickens and turkeys at the premises is currently being undertaken.

The Food Standards Agency have confirmed there is no risk to consumers from the farm owned by Staveley’s Eggs, which produces and packages free range and colony cage eggs. In November 2014, there was an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu in Yorkshire following outbreaks of the same strain in Europe, while earlier this year, a low severity strain of H7N7 was identified at a farm in Hampshire.