THE Government has given an update on a bird flu outbreak which hit a Cheshire village farm last month.

It was confirmed in March that Cheshire West and Chester Council was working with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Public Health England (PHE) and other partners to respond to an outbreak of avian flu at a poultry farm in Tarporley.

Workers at the site raised the alarm when they noticed birds becoming unwell. There are approximately 4,500 birds housed at the facility.

Test results identified the strain of avian flu as a low pathogenic case, meaning it was less likely to cause death in the birds, making the disease more difficult to spot in the early stages. Birds were culled to ensure no further spread and a one-kilometre restriction zone was set up around the farm to stop the movement of birds and prevent the spread of the infection.

It did not restrict the movement of people and the team assessed there were between 200 and 300 properties in the affected area.

Now, the Government has said, following successful completion of disease control activities and surveillance within the zone, the Restricted Zone has been revoked.

Local movement restrictions have now been removed but the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) measures remain in force, as are the case across the whole of England currently.

Last November, a 'highly pathogenic' strain of bird flu was confirmed at a farm near Frodsham.

All 13,000 chickens at the farm were humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease.

Chester Zoo reopened to the public last week and director of animals and plants Mike Jordan revealed the popular animal attraction had been taking every precaution necessary to protect its birds.

He said: "Our staff working with birds have had to cope with avian flu in the country, which means we have to segment all our bird aviaries into separate little farms and treat each one as a bio-secure unit.

"It also meant we couldn't even share Wellington boots or overalls we would normally share. Every member of staff has had to have a separate set for every area, so it has been a very tough time for our bird staff.

"But all the staff have worked incredibly hard to make sure the conditions for the animals are as good as they can be."

Public Health England has confirmed that the avian flu risk to public health is very low.