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Bird Flu Outbreak Confirmed At Melton Theme Park

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

Updated 23rd November 2020 17:40

Bird flu has been identified in poultry and captive birds at Twinlakes Park in Melton Mowbray.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said the avian influenza outbreak, was of the H5N8 strain.

The outbreak pathogenicity is to be confirmed, the department said.

Twinlakes Park is a hugely popular visitor attraction on the outskirts of Melton.

A 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been put in place around the premises

There are approximately 98 poultry, two emus and 73 aviary birds at the site plus a separate birds of prey collection.

All remaining birds will be humanely culled to prevent the spread of diseases. The birds of prey are housed in separate biosecure accommodation on a different part of the site. There is controlled access to the birds and they are looked after by different people to those tending the poultry and other captive birds. They will be restricted and subject to regular inspection and testing.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Avian influenza has been confirmed in a small number of poultry and captive birds at a site near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. All of the birds at risk of having been infected will now be humanely culled and we have put a temporary control zone in place around the premises to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Following a number of confirmed cases in the UK there is currently an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in place across the country to ensure that we can eradicate the disease as quickly as possible.

“Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining strong biosecurity measures on their premises.”

The whole premises is under restriction and poultry and mammals are not allowed to be moved from the site.

Wild birds migrating to the UK from mainland Europe during the winter period can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds.

Public Health England has advised that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

The government also confirmed a bird flu outbreak at a non-poultry premises in Gloucestershire on 19 November.

A map of the 3km and 10km control zones around Melton Mowbray. Photo: DEFRA.

Twinlakes Park, which has been closed due to the recent lockdown measures, have been approached for comment.

The NHS say: "No humans have been infected with H5N1, H7N9, H5N6 or H5N8 bird flu in the UK – this includes the type of H5N6 virus recently found in humans in China. Plans are in place to manage any suspected cases.

H5N8 bird flu has been found in some wild birds and poultry in the UK. H5N6 has also been found in some wild birds in the UK but is a different strain to that seen in China."

The restrictions will remain in place until withdrawn by DEFRA.

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