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Suspected bird flu case at farm

A suspected case of bird flu has been identified at a poultry farm in Lancashire, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said.

A temporary control zone has been imposed 10km (six miles) around the premises preventing bird and animal movement, and all birds at the farm will be culled to limit the risk of disease spreading, officials said.

The risk to public health is very low, according to Public Health England, and the Food Standards Agency has said there is no food safety risk for consumers.

Officials said the case had not yet been confirmed, and it was not known what strain of avian flu it was, as laboratory tests were ongoing.

All poultry farms within the temporary control zone around the affected premises, which was put in place following the birds on the farm showing symptoms, are not allowed to move poultry or other animals as a result of the restrictions.

Chief vet Nigel Gibbens said: "We have taken swift precautionary action to limit the risk of disease spreading. These measures to control the movement of poultry and humanely cull birds at the farm are part of our tried and tested approach to deal with such incidents.

"The advice from Public Health England is that the risk to public health is very low. The Food Standards Agency has said there is no food safety risk for consumers.

"I would urge bird keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease, report suspect disease to their nearest APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) office and to ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises."

The affected farm is near the town of Longridge, to the north of Preston in Lancashire.

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