The Government said all 10,500 birds at the farm would be humanely culled to limit the spread of the H5N8 strain and the risk to public health was very low. A detailed investigation is now underway to determine the source of the outbreak and a 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been put in place around the infected site to limit the risk of the disease spreading.
Public Health England (PHE) and the Food Standards Agency assured consumers that avian influenzas pose a very low risk to people, and that properly cooked poultry products including eggs are safe to eat.
UK chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, who advises the Government on animal welfare, said “immediate steps” were taken to stop the disease from spreading when it was detected at the farm on Saturday.
She said: “Avian flu has been confirmed at a commercial turkey fattening farm near Northallerton, North Yorkshire.
“Immediate steps have been taken to limit the risk of the disease spreading and all the remaining turkeys at the farm will be culled.
”PHE has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.
“Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.
READ MORE: Britons urged to avoid ‘beautiful’ Devon black swans after flu deaths
“We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this farm to control and eliminate it.”
Dr Gavin Dabrera, consultant in acute respiratory infections at PHE, said the World Health Organisation has never confirmed a case of the avian flu strain (H5N8) in humans.
He said: “As a precaution the local Health Protection Team will offer routine health advice to those working on the farm. We will work with Defra to monitor the situation closely.”
With just weeks to go before Christmas, Defra has said it does not anticipate any impact on the supplies of turkeys or other birds over the festive period.
Wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter period can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds.
Earlier this month, bird flu caused the “devastating” deaths of six black swans in Dawlish, Devon, prompting local authorities to warn members of the public to stay away.
The swan deaths came amid a number of other bird-flu related fatalities in animal populations across the south west of England in recent weeks.
Three geese in Gloucestershire were found to have contracted a particular strain of avian flu called H5N8 last month.
They were found dead at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge.