EU announces emergency measures to contain Bird Flu in the Netherlands and the UK

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The European Commission has announced the introduction of emergency measures to contain outbreaks of bird flu in both the UK and the Netherlands.

This comes after the alarm was raised by a private vet based in Nafferton, East Yorkshire, over a duck that is believed to have avian flu. This suspicion was later confirmed by tests.

In the meantime, Dutch authorities reported the outbreak of bird flu at a chicken farm in Utrecht, and it has been confirmed as H5N8 bird flu.

The Netherlands has banned the transport of poultry and eggs throughout the country and officials fear that the disease may now have spread to the UK through German and Dutch links.

A restriction zone of six miles has been set up around the farm in Yorkshire and all poultry on the farm is being slaughtered to stop the disease from spreading.

The public have been asked not to panic. This may be the first serious incidence of bird flu since 2008, but the outbreak does not appear to be H5N1, which is often fatal to humans.

The European Commission stated that they are aiming to bring the disease under control as quickly as possible in a bid to prevent it spreading within the Netherlands and Britain, or to other countries.

A spokesman from the Commission said the measures they are implementing have been designed to minimise disturbance to trade with the Christmas season due to commence shortly.

He stated that the measures include culling poultry at the affected farms, cleaning and disinfecting, no movement of live poultry, poultry meat or eggs to other countries, and the establishment of surveillance and protection zones.

International organisations, other EU member states and non-EU countries will also be kept up to date on the situation and the measures taken.

Liz Truss, the Environment Secretary, said that Public Health England and the chief medical officer have provided confirmation that the public health risk to virus is extremely low. She added that according to the Food Standards Agency the British public are not at risk and it is safe to consume turkey and chicken.

Ms Truss said that robust and immediate action has been taken to control the outbreak and to prevent further spread of the disease.

Image Credit: Rex Roof

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