AVIAN INFLUENZA has been found on a turkey farm near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, Defra has confirmed.

It is the third farm to be hit by a highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of the virus this winter, following cases on two unconnected broiler breeder farms earlier in November.

See also: Avian influenza: Poland records first case as European infections rise

A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone have been declared around the farm and authorities will humanely cull all 10,500 birds to limit the spread of the disease.

A detailed investigation is underway to determine the most likely source of the outbreak.

H5N8 avian influenza is circulating across the UK and Northern Europe following outbreaks in Russia in late summer.

Limit spread

There have now been cases in most European countries, with wild bird findings widespread.

Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said immediate steps had been taken to limit the spread of disease.

“Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises,” she added.

“We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it.”

There is an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in place across Great Britain, making it a legal requirement for poultry keepers to ensure good biosecurity.