EMERGENCY control zones have been put in place after the Government confirmed cases of bird flu at an animal sanctuary.

Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at the property in Kirby Cross yesterday, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

Both 3km and 10km temporary control zones have been put in place surrounding the affected location.

The response is being led by Essex County Council, Tendring Council, Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Health officials have visited the site and taken several actions including testing and cleaning.

The measures put in place also mean that all birds on the premises will be culled to stop the spread of the disease.

A spokesman for the department said: “Avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in birds at a premises near Frinton.

“Further testing is underway to confirm the pathogenicity of the strain.

“All birds on the infected premises will be humanely culled.

“When avian influenza is confirmed or suspected in poultry or other captive birds, disease control zones are put in place around the infected premises to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Within these zones a range of restrictions on the movement of poultry and material associated with their keeping can apply.”

Some of those measures include restrictions on the movement of any poultry, eggs, or carcases.

Avian influenza circulates naturally in wild birds who migrate to the UK over the winter, where the disease can spread to poultry.



Temporary control zones - 3km and 10km zones have been put in place surrounding the affected location

A total of 26 cases of bird flu were confirmed in poultry and captive birds in the UK between November 2020 and March 2021.

A nearby farmer told the Gazette he was unaware of any poultry farms in the area, so the bird may be privately owned by a resident.

Earlier this month a bird flu prevention zone was declared across Britain to try to stop the disease spreading.

Keepers with more than 500 birds were told to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, and workers told to change their clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures.

Owners with smaller numbers of poultry – including chickens, ducks and geese – were told to take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals.

John Spence, the county council’s cabinet member for 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 and Tendring Council this is what we have done.

“Officers from the Animal and Plant Health Agency will be visiting commercial premises within the 3km zone around the site of the outbreak, and we will be writing to 19,000 homes, offering information and advice, over the coming days.”


Zone - emergency restrictions have been put in place around Kirby Cross.

UK agencies have stated that the risk to public health from the virus is very low.
Lynda McWilliams, Tendring Council cabinet member for partnerships, said the authority was standing by to assist as required.

“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,” Mrs McWilliams said.

“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, 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.”

Clacton MP Giles Watling said: “It is concerning an outbreak has occurred locally and I will keep in touch with the minister over any developments.

"However, local people do not need to be worried.”