Sixth farm suffers bird flu outbreak in Norfolk

Livetec remained in Norfolk at the end of December due to a sixth confirmed outbreak of avian influenza amongst another flock of ducks. The infected premises, which was part of a larger poultry production company, was the fourth location to be implicated within the county in the space of a week, showing just how quickly the highly transmissible strain H5N8 can travel.

AI was found to be spreading through the almost 26,000 ducks resident on site. As is standard procedure with the presence of the notifiable disease, the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s Emergency team had taken control of the farm and imposed a range of restrictions, to prevent the disease spreading to nearby locations. 

Aware that an outbreak can occur at any time, the Livetec Operations team worked quickly and respectfully to facilitate the required emergency depopulation, finishing it within one day. This was followed by other measures required, like cleansing and disinfection, to allow the farmer to work towards resuming operations. 

A thorough investigation to detect the cause of the outbreak, confirmed that multiple biosecurity breaches had occurred. The report concluded that the cause of the outbreak was poor biosecurity, with both the unsuitable bedding storage and contact with wild birds believed to have caused the breach. It was also noted that there were significant failings in the maintenance of the premises and a lack of suitable PPE for both the staff and delivery drivers. 

If the infected premises had followed a Livetec biosecurity and contingency plan, which can identify those failings in biosecurity before the ingress of disease, it’s highly probable that measures and protocols could have greatly reduced the risk of an outbreak.