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H5N1 found on turkey farm

Date Published: 03/02/2007

Scientists have confirmed that a strain of bird flu found on a Suffolk turkey farm is H5N1.

More than 2,500 birds have been killed by the disease on the site and another 160,000 will now have to be slaughtered.

It is the first time this strain of the disease has been found on a UK commercial poultry unit.

The farm supplies Bernard Matthews and a 3km protection zone has been established around the village of Holton, near Lowestoft, with a 10km surveillance zone also now in place.

Defra said this afternoon that the farm had been under surveillance since Thursday evening.

Further tests are now underway to establish whether the strain of the virus is similar to that found in Asia.

In statement Defra said: “The national general licence on bird gatherings has been revoked, and bird shows and pigeon racing will no longer be permitted.

“An urgent veterinary risk assessment is being carried out in consultation with ornithological experts to consider the specific circumstances of this case and determine the level of risk, if any, it may pose to poultry and other kept birds. On the basis of this risk assessment further wider restrictions will be imposed in the area.”

For more information on Avian Flu, call the Defra helpline on 08459 33 55 77 (8.30am – 8.00pm 7 days a week).