Bird Flu outbreak: Tyneside houses receive government letters as surveillance zones set up

Residents received letters this week, although zones have been in place since January

Residents across Newcastle and Tyneside have received letters warning them of a local outbreak of Avian Influenza, also known as Bird Flu.

Already this year, cases of the flu had been reported at Ouseburn Farm and Gateshead">at an address in Gateshead.

Over the past few days, many locals received contact from UK Chief Vet Christine Middlemiss about the situation.

People on social media from Jarrow, Wallsend, Gateshead, Gosforth, Low Fell, Felling, Hebburn, West Moor and Killingworth all confirmed they had received the message.

The letter reads: "I am contacting you as the UK Chief Vet because there has been an outbreak of Avian Influenza (also known as bird flu), in your area.

"The avian strain influenza strain in this outbreak presents a low risk to human health but is highly pathogenic for birds, meaning they can catch and spread the disease easily.

"You have received this letter because your property is in, or very close to a declared AI protection or surveillance zone."

The aim of the letter is to understand which properties in the area own poultry that could be affected by the disease.

The letter is addressed as March 2022, but local surveillance zones have been in place since January 2022.

A 3 km Protection Zone and 10 km Surveillance Zone had been put in place around premises near Blaydon, Gateshead where infected poultry was identified on February 25.

Birds on that premises have been humanely culled.

The 10 km Surveillance Zone stretches as far as Stanley, Prudhoe and Heaton.

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone had also been put in place at Byker on January 25 after an outbreak.

Both these zones are still ongoing, hence the letters received by locals.

There had also been a 3 km Captive Bird (Monitoring) Controlled Zone put in place near Washington on December 11, but that ended on March 6.