Britain confirms bird flu case in Lancashire, to cull infected poultry

(REUTERS) - The H5N8 bird flu strain has been found in a flock of about 10,000 pheasants at a farm in Lancashire, northwest England, British authorities said on Tuesday (Jan 24).

Some of the birds have already died and the remainder will be culled, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said in a statement.

A 3-km protection zone and a 10-km surveillance zone have been put in place around the farm in Preston, it said, adding that the virus posed very low risk to public health.

Different strains of bird flu have been spreading across Europe and Asia since late last year, leading to the large-scale slaughter of poultry in certain countries and some human deaths in China.

A case of the contagious H5N8 bird flu strain was found in southwest Wales earlier in January while the eastern English county of Lincolnshire and the Irish Republic each reported a case in December.

The World Health Organization called on all countries on Monday (Jan 23) to monitor closely outbreaks of deadly avian influenza in birds and poultry and to report promptly any human cases that could signal the start of a flu pandemic.