AN OUTBREAK of bird flu has been confirmed at a premises near Pokesdown.

A temporary control zone has been declared covering all of Bournemouth, most of Christchurch and Poole, as well as areas in East Dorset.

A statement from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal Plant Health Agency, said: "Avian influenza H5N1 has been confirmed in birds at a premises near Pokesdown, (in the) Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (Council area).

"Further testing is underway to confirm the pathogenicity of the strain. 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zones have been put in place around the premises."

A 3km Temporary Control Zone has been constructed around an area centred on Castlemain Avenue at this time with regard to animal movements. 

The temporary control zones have been authorised by the environment secretary to reduce the risk of the transmission of avian influenza.

These measures came into force at 10.30am on Friday, November 19, and remain in place until the order is withdrawn or amended.

The cases in the BCP Council area follow cases in Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Essex, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

Defra said all bird keepers are encouraged to maintain high standards of biosecurity as good practice for the health of their birds, and that good biosecurity is an essential defence against diseases such as avian influenza and is key to limiting the spread of avian influenza in an outbreak.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

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.

Avian influenza is unconnected with Covid-19.

Trading Standards Officers from BCP Council are working alongside officers from the Government’s Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) with measures to prevent the spread of the disease. These measures include a cull of the birds who pose a direct risk, as well as further investigation over the weekend into premises in the area who are breeding or keeping birds.