Flu outbreak: Dead bird figures

MORE than 2,000 turkeys have died after an outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm in Suffolk, it was revealed today.

MORE than 2,000 turkeys have died after an outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm in Suffolk, it was revealed today.

Government vets are continuing to investigate at the Bernard Matthews site at Holton, near Halesworth, where it was originally thought around 1,000 birds had died. The figure has now been reported by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as 2,617.

A Defra spokesman said the birds had started to die on Tuesday and that Defra had been alerted on Thursday after 860 turkeys died. On Friday 1500 turkeys died, she said.

The spokeswoman said there are 160,000 turkeys at the site and added that one out of 22 sheds had been affected.

Earlier, a spokesman said: “Preliminary tests have indicated that the avian influenza virus is present in samples from poultry.

"These preliminary results show that it is the H5 strain of the virus but further confirmatory tests are in progress to identify the strain more fully.

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“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.

“At this stage there is no definite confirmation that this is a virus that has human health implications.

“As a precautionary measure those who might have been exposed would be offered the appropriate treatment and protection.”

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