Chickens on a farm in Oxfordshire have tested positive for the H7 strain of Avian Influenze

The UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed that the strain of H7 Avian Influenza present in laying hens at a farm in England.

The chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens, confirmed Avian Flu in chickens on the premises near Banbury in Oxfordshire after preliminary tests were positive for the H7 strain. Defra said all birds on the premises will be slaughtered as a precautionary measure.

Laboratory testing continues and results which will allow confirmation of whether the strain is high or low pathogenicity will follow.

A temporary control zone with a 3km inner zone and a 10km outer zone is being established around the infected premises.

Defra is considering whether any wider measures may be needed.

The H7 avian flu remains largely a disease of birds. The virus does not transmit easily to humans, as evidenced by the small number of confirmed infections worldwide to date.

Almost all human H7 infections documented so far have been associated with close contact with dead or dying poultry.

Dr Judith Hilton, Food Standards Agency head of microbiological safety, said: ‘This case of bird flu on a premises in Banbury, Oxfordshire poses no safety implications for the human food chain. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat. The science shows that the virus isn't contracted by eating food – but usually by close contact with infected birds.’