Wild birds believed to be ‘the most likely source’ of Lancashire’s avian flu outbreak

Scene of the outbreak of bird flu at Field Foot Farm, Goosnargh
Scene of the outbreak of bird flu at Field Foot Farm, Goosnargh

Wild birds are believed to be “the most likely source of infection” behind the avian bird flu outbreak at a Goosnargh poultry farm last month.

The outbreak at Staveley’s Eggs at Field Foot Farm off Eaves Green Lane led to the deaths and culling of almost 180,000 birds.

A report issued late last week by a vet working for DEFRA, which also coincided with the lifting of the Protection Zone restrictions imposed around the farm in the wake of the outbreak, states: “The epidemiological investigations indicate that the most likely source of infection was contact with wild species infected with LPAI (low pathogenic avian influenza) followed by a subsequent mutation event to HPAI (high pathogenic avian influenza) that took place on the holding.”

The report by Dr Nigel Gibbons, Chief Veterinary Officer of the Food and Farming Group, London, also reveals 34,604 birds were infected and died as a result of the virus and a further 145,261 birds were destroyed. While the 3km Protection Zone restrictions have been lifted, the 10 km Surveillance Zone around Staveley’s Eggs remains in place.