autumn colours
Defra said that it isn’t the deadly H5N1 strainRussell Cheyne/Reuters

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed that a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire has been hit with a bout of bird flu.

The authorities said that the public are at very low risk even though the exact strain of the virus has yet to be confirmed, but the H5N1 strain, which has a 60% mortality rate for humans, has been ruled out.

Defra said that there is at least one definite case of the virus on the east Yorkshire farm, but the entire flock, around 6,000 ducks, would be destroyed as a precaution.

A Defra spokesperson said: "We have confirmed a case of avian flu on a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire - the public health risk is very low and there is no risk to the food chain.

"We are taking immediate and robust action which includes introducing a 10km restriction zone and culling all poultry on the farm to prevent any potential spread of infection.

"A detailed investigation is ongoing. We have a strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu in the UK."

The NHS website said the strains of the virus "don't infect people easily and are usually not transmitted from human to human", they had led to people becoming infected around the world, and deaths.

"Other bird flu viruses (particularly H7N7 and H9N2) have also infected people, but these have rarely caused severe illness."

It is believed that more than 400 people have died from the H5N1 strain since it surfaced in 2003. Most of the deaths have come in Southeast Asia.

An outbreak of bird flu was also discovered in the Netherlands on Sunday (17 November) which led to the Dutch government putting a temporary ban on the transport of poultry and eggs.