Avian flu on UK farm is H5N1 strain

The H5N1 strain of Avian flu which is potentially fatal if passed to humans has killed 2600 turkeys on a farm in Suffolk.

Vets were called to a Bernard Matthews farm at Holton late on Thursday night (1 February) to investigate the sudden death of the birds.

Tests today have confirmed the cause is the H5N1 type which has can transfer to humans with potentially fatal consequences.

Earlier, a DEFRA spokeswoman said the risk of contracting the disease is low and that there was no need to panic.

She had said: “Avian influenza is a disease of birds and while it can pass very rarely and with difficulty to humans, this required extremely close contact with infected birds, particularly the faeces.”

With the H5N1 strain being confirmed, all 160,000 birds on the farm will have to be slaughtered and strict surveillance measures will be put in place.

The farm has been placed under tight restrictions and samples from the dead birds are being examined at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency  in Weybridge, Surrey.
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Link to DEFRA information on avian flu.

What impact will avian flu have on the Bernard Matthews business? Read our FWi news blog, Food for Thought.