Precautionary measures in place following Avian Influenza case in North Fambridge

Date: 
Monday, November 22, 2021

An isolated outbreak of Avian Influenza (otherwise known as Bird Flu) has been confirmed at a premise in North Fambridge, Maldon. The outbreak is in birds and there are no cases in people.

This is the second outbreak of Avian Influenza in Essex in the past two weeks, however there is no evidence to suggest that that the two outbreaks are linked.

The response is being led by Essex County Council, Maldon District Council, Chelmsford City Council, Rochford District Council and the Animal and Plant Health Agency. Health officials have visited the site and taken several actions including testing and cleansing.

Avian Influenza is a disease which mainly affects birds, but on rare occasions, it can affect mammals including humans. Consequently, a number of precautionary measures are being put in place.

Officers will be visiting 965 houses and commercial properties within a 3km zone detailing actions that need to be undertaken and who to contact in the event of a suspected case.  Residents are required to notify Essex County Council of any poultry on their premises and to avoid moving poultry in and out of the 3km zone.  Road signage will be erected on roads entering or leaving the 3km zone.

Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. However, anyone who is concerned should call NHS 111 or speak to their GP. People in direct contact with the affected birds have been contacted and offered appropriate preventative treatment.

Pet owners with other animals do not usually need to take other action. If a person has concerns regarding their pet, they should contact their private veterinary surgeon.

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, Avian Influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council’s Cabinet member for Adults and Health, said: “It is important to reassure people that the risk of anyone becoming infected as a result of an outbreak like this is extremely low.

“Nevertheless, it is important that we put the correct precautions in place and working with Defra, Maldon District Council, Rochford District Council and Chelmsford City Council this is what we have done.

“We will be visiting premises around the site of the outbreak, and offering information and advice, over the coming days.”

Maldon District Council’s Leader Designate, Cllr Richard Siddall, said  “As the local council, we are ready to help our colleagues at Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Essex County Council in any way we can, and particularly with activity to make local people aware of this outbreak.

“The important thing is for people to react sensibly, understand there is minimal risk to human health, and if you keep birds then to follow the measures set out by the authorities”.

Dr David Edwards, Public Health England’s Regional Deputy Director (Acting), UK Health Security Agency East, said: “Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. We are working closely with Defra to monitor the situation and have provided the necessary health advice to anyone on site as a precaution.

“We know the importance of washing hands when it comes to COVID and the same applies here – try not to touch any sick or dead birds and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap after contact with any animal.”