31 May 1996

Virus outbreak strikes poultry

MAFF has imposed restrictions on a poultry farm in East Sussex following the first outbreak of Newcastle disease for 12 years.

The outbreak of the highly infectious viral disease in reared pheasants on the farm between Waldron and Heathfield has led to the slaughter of all birds in the infected flock.

The restrictions mean that all other poultry farms within 10km have to observe restrictions on the movement of birds and hatching of eggs for at least 21 days after the original infection has been cleared.

Although compensation will be available for uninfected birds which have to be slaughtered, there is no aid for consequential loss.

John Roberts, NFU national poultry adviser, said the virus was likely to have been spread by aerosols from infected birds.

The last serious case in Great Britain was in 1994 when 22 cases were confirmed leading to the slaughter of 800,000 birds. MAFF claims the absence of outbreaks since 1984 is due to the high level of vaccine usage coupled with quarantine controls on imported birds. &#42