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Bird flu found on Norfolk farm

Date Published: 27/04/2006

Around 35,000 chickens are to be slaughtered on a Norfolk farm following the discovery of a strain of bird flu.

The birds are thought to be infected with the less pathogenic H7 strain of the virus, rather than H5N1. Further tests are being carried out to determine the exact strain.

The affected unit is at Witford Lodge Farm in Hockering, 13 miles west of Norwich, and the 35,000-strong flock is to be culled today.

The virus was discovered when testing was carried out on dead birds found at the farm. The H7 strain is highly contagious among birds, but less of a threat to humans.

Government Chief Vet, Debby Reynolds, said she did not know where the virus had come from. She added that no decision had yet been taken on whether to begin the slaughter of chickens on neighbouring farms and that the destruction of the birds on the affected farm was a ‘highly precautionary’ measure.