Mike Coston is the Owner/Editor of Avian Flu Diary


Europe’s third bird flu outbreak in less than two weeks has been tentatively identified as an H5 variety – although further testing is required to nail down the exact subtype.  The two earlier outbreaks (Germany & The Netherlands) were both H5N8 – a new, upstart virus that previously had only appeared in Korea and Northeastern China.

Defra (the UK’s Department of Environment, Farming & Rural Affairs) has ruled out the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus, but that leaves a small rogues gallery of other H5 subtypes as possibilities – including H5N8.   Other possibilities include H5N2and (less likely) H5N3.

Since I went into some detail yesterday on the recent rise, and spread, of avian flu viruses in Asia (see FAO On The Potential Threat Of HPAI Spread Via Migratory Birds), I’ll not repeat that here.   Below you’ll find the Defra statement on the Yorkshire outbreak.


Avian flu outbreak in duck breeding farm in Yorkshire

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs andAnimal and Plant Health Agency
First published:
17 November 2014
Part of:
Protecting animal health and preventing disease, including in trade, Food and farming and Wildlife and animal welfare

Defra has confirmed a case of avian flu outbreak in a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire.


Defra has confirmed a case of avian flu outbreak in a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire with very low risk to human health and no risk to the food chain.

Immediate action has been taken to control the outbreak including introducing a 10km restriction zone and a complete cull of all 6,000 birds on the farm to prevent any potential spread of infection. The case confirmed on Sunday afternoon has been identified as a H5 avian flu strain and tests are being run to identify the exact strain of the disease. Public Health England have confirmed the risk to public health is extremely low and we have ruled out the H5N1 strain that is infectious for humans.

Further advice from the Food Standards Agency is that avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Investigations are now ongoing to discover whether the outbreak is linked to cases found in Netherlands and Germany with further test results expected over the coming days. The UK has a strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu and all action will be taken to control this outbreak to prevent a further spread of the disease.

The restriction zone bans movements of all poultry, products and waste within the area. Poultry must be housed or isolated in the zone. Bird gatherings (fairs, shows, exhibitions) are banned and game birds cannot be released.

For media enquiries only please contact Defra press office on 02072386007. For other enquiries contact the Defra Helpline: 03459 33 55 77

If anyone suspects any strain of avian influenza you must contact your nearest Animal and Plant and Health Agency (APHA) office.