New bird flu controls for 'higher risk' Hartlepool
New measures are in place for the town's poultry farmers to prevent bird flu.
Poultry keepers in Hartlepool are being advised of the measures which have come into force to reduce the risk of avian flu.
The measures – which follow the end of a nationwide Avian Influenza Prevention Zone on February 28 – take a more targeted approach to controlling the diseases, categorizing areas as either higher or lower risk.
Hartlepool is classed as a higher risk area and this means poultry farmers must continue to keep their birds indoors or protected from contact with wild birds within fully netted outdoor areas, pens, cages or aviaries.
Jane Kett, Environmental Health Manager (Commercial Services) at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must continue to take action to stop it coming into contact with wild birds.
"Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn’t possible owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.
"Even when birds are kept indoors a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good bio-security by, for example, disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds.”
A number of cases of avian influenza H5N8 have been confirmed nationally, and restrictions are in place. This includes an outbreak of the H5N8 strain which was recently confirmed in a small flock of chickens at a farm near Haltwhistle in Northumberland.
Public Health England says that the risk posed by avian flu to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
More information is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu or by calling Hartlepool Council’s Trading Standards Team on (01429) 523352.