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H5N1 avian influenza confirmed on UK Turkey Farm

by 5m Editor
3 February 2007, at 5:57am

UK - Tests from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) have confirmed that the sample from the poultry found dead on a farm near Lowestoft in Suffolk contained the H5N1 avian flu virus, and that it is the highly pathogenic Asian strain.

It is similar to the virus that was found in Hungary in January.

The State Veterinary Service are enforcing a Protection Zone of three kilometres radius and a Surveillance Zone of 10 kilometres around the premises where movement restrictions will be imposed and poultry must be isolated from wild birds.

A wider Restricted Zone has also (in consultation with ornithologists) been imposed, covering east Suffolk and South East Norfolk bounded to the west and the north by the A140 and A47 respectively, an area of approximately 2090sqkm. It requires the isolation of poultry from wild birds, and requires movements to be licensed. As further information becomes available and in consultation with ornithological experts the restrictions in place may be adjusted.

The national general licence on bird gatherings has been revoked, and bird shows and pigeon racing will no longer be permitted.

There is no reason for public health concern. Avian Influenza is a disease of birds and whilst it can pass very rarely and with difficulty to humans, this requires extremely close contact with infected birds, particularly faeces. Advice from the Food Standards Agency remains that properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Keepers of birds are urged to be vigilant and to exercise good biosecurity. Any owners that suspect disease should act quickly and consult their vet. Avian influenza is a notifiable disease and must be reported to the local Divisional Veterinary Manager in the State Veterinary Service (click here for details).

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5m Editor