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Bird flu found in Dorset

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) have confirmed cases of avian influenza in South Dorset.

Some 17 wild birds in Weymouth have been found to be carrying a virus closely related to the H5N6 strain.

DEFRA has advised all bird keepers within the new Prevention Zone to follow its biosecurity measures and encouraged those in the rest of England to be mindful of its advice, although not legally required apply extra biosecurity.

These include minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures and keeping birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl.

It is the first confirmed case of the virus in the UK. Public Health England has said that the risk to the rest of the country was very low.

The BBC reported that UK chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens said that the discovery had “not come as a surprise”.

He added: “It is vital that anyone who keeps birds – whether a few in a back garden or thousands on a farm – is vigilant for any signs of disease, reports suspect disease to APHA and maintains good biosecurity to reduce the risk of their birds becoming infected.”

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