DEFRA is investigating a case of avian influenza at a Bernard Matthews breeder farm in Suffolk, but insists it is of a low pathogenic strain.
In a statement, the company said: “Bernard Matthews can confirm that some of the birds at one of the business’ farms showed signs of ill health over the weekend.
“The company felt it was appropriate to report this to DEFRA. They have detected the presence of an avian influenza virus, but not the virulent H5 or H7 form.
“Some restrictions are in place as a precaution, but are expected to be lifted in the next few days.”
DEFRA said it was awaiting further laboratory test results. “The premises remains under restriction pending further results. Public Health England are aware and are ready to take the necessary action pending further test results.”
The appearance of avian influenza has attracted a degree of media interest, coming at a time when a new strain of the disease – H7N9 – has appeared in China. This has led to the death of 16 people and the slaughter of many thousands of birds.
This strain of the disease is low pathogenic in poultry, but potentially fatal to humans.
Stay alert to avian influenza threat warning