Council to call at homes after bird flu outbreak in Ely

Cambridgeshire County Council's Trading Standards team will start calling at homes within a 3km Protection Zone

Cambridgeshire County Council's Trading Standards team will start calling at homes within a 3km Protection Zone tomorrow (April 12) after bird flu hit a farm near Ely on April 6. - Credit: Press Association Images

Cambridgeshire County Council’s (CCC) Trading Standards team will start calling at homes in part of East Cambridgeshire tomorrow (April 12) after bird flu hit a farm near Ely. 

The government put the area under surveillance following an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on April 6. 

As part of the measures in Ely, a 3km Protection Zone was set up in the Downham Hythe, Little Downham and Pymoor areas. 

From tomorrow, officers will call at homes within the zone to ascertain if birds are kept at that location – they will produce photo ID, will not enter your home, nor will they need to view any birds. 

The team is working with DEFRA and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to identify all poultry and captive birds in the area. 

If birds are kept at a location they visit, the information will be referred to APHA for veterinary assessment to determine if a health check on the birds is required. 

Trading Standards is also responsible for enforcement if any of the rules within the National Avian Influenza Prevention Zone or the declaratory order are breached. 

These rules are there to protect not only livelihoods and valuable commercial bird stocks, but also much-loved pets, and with such a virulent strain it is vital bird keepers adhere to them. 

Peter Gell, assistant director for regulatory services at CCC, said: “We are a rural county, blessed with a wide range of commercial bird keepers. 

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“Their livelihoods and health of their flocks depend on all bird keepers – large and small – doing their bit to prevent the further spread of this disease.” 

Road signs marked ‘Animal Disease Control Zone’ will also be erected by the council on behalf of APHA in the coming week to make bird transporters aware they are entering an animal disease control zone. 

“Check your birds frequently for symptoms of bird flu – know the tell-tale signs and immediately report any ill-health to your veterinarian,” said Peter. 

“If you suspect bird flu you should contact DEFRA Rural Services helpline on 03000 200 301.” 

Defra will be writing to households in the Surveillance Zone reminding them of the risk to poultry and captive birds and asking them to voluntarily register their flocks. 

There is a requirement to undertake surveillance in these zones for at least three months. 

If keepers are in one of these zones, they may be contacted at any time during this period to advise that they have been selected at random for a surveillance visit.  

In terms of the risk to public health, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk of human health is very low.