Britain hit with H5N1 bird flu

05-02-2007 | |
Britain hit with H5N1 bird flu

It has been confirmed that the H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected for the first time on a British poultry farm after 2,500 turkeys died.

According to Britain’s Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Fred Landeg, all 159,000 turkeys were slaughtered on the farm in Holton in Suffolk, about 130 miles northeast of London, and that he expects the outbreak to be contained. In addition, restrictions on the movement of poultry have been put into effect order to prevent the spread of deadly bird flu from eastern England.
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the virus was the same pathogenic Asian strain found last month in Hungary, where an outbreak among geese prompted the slaughter of thousands of birds.
Experts stressed the situation did not pose a public health threat. Workers at Bernard Matthews-owned farm have been offered antiviral drugs and are wearing protective clothing, said Health Protection Agency virologist Maria Zambon. She added that the virus does not transmit easily to humans and has not been found to be transmitted through food.
This outbreak is the first case of H5N1 among European poultry since hundreds of turkeys died at a farm in eastern France about a year ago. Bird shows, markets and pigeon racing have been cancelled until further notice.