“This is the first time avian flu has been identified in the UK this winter and while the disease does not represent a threat to the public, it is highly infectious and deadly to birds,” UK Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said.
The ministry said tests had showed that the infection, detected in 17 birds in the Dorset county, was closely related to the H5N6 strain that has been circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months. It stressed a different strain affected people in China last year.
A prevention zone will be nevertheless introduced in the area until further notice. The ministry said there were no plans for any culls or movement restrictions but urged poultry keepers to keep a close watch on their birds.
The first case of a human contracting another strain of avian influenza, H7N9, has been registered in China’s northern province of Shanxiin in previous year. Those who were in contact with the person, did not reportedly show any symptoms of infection, however.