AN outbreak of avian flu has been detected at a farm near Redcar.

Avian influenza of the H5N8 subtype was confirmed in laying chickens at the premises on Saturday, February 6.

Defra said it would act quickly to humanely cull all affected birds and to introduce movement restrictions, to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council said: “An outbreak of Avian influenza has been confirmed among laying chickens at a farm near Redcar.

"Immediate steps were taken by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and all poultry on the site will be humanely culled.

“Public Health England has confirmed the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said Avian Influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers and that it does not affect the consumption of poultry or eggs.

“However, as a precaution, anyone who has bought eggs from a farm in the Redcar area should ensure they follow general food hygiene practices and thoroughly wash their hands after handling the eggs, and should not touch their face without doing so.”

The authority stressed that avian influenza is in no way connected to the Covid-19 pandemic which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is not carried in poultry.

The Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland and Wales brought in new measures to help protect poultry and captive birds, following a number of cases of avian influenza in both wild and captive birds in the UK.

From December 14 it became a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

Bird keepers are urged to remain alert for any signs of disease, to report suspected disease immediately and maintain good biosecurity on their premises.

Anyone who sees dead or visibly sick birds must not touch or pick them up.

If members of the public find dead wild waterfowl such as swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, they should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459-335577.