Bird Flu :: UK hit by first H5N1 bird flu outbreak in poultry

The avian flu, which killed 2600 turkeys at a Suffolk farm, has been confirmed as the H5N1 virus.

Government officials have moved to reassure the public that the risks from an outbreak of the potentially deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu are “negligible”. Emergency measures have been put in place to shut down the movement of poultry to minimise the risk of bird flu spreading to other animals and even humans.

Some 2,600 turkeys have died since thursday at the Bernard Matthews farm near Lowestoft in eastern England. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said all 159,000 turkeys on the farm would now be culled.

Avian flu expert Colin Butter of the Institute of Animal Health said the British outbreak was surprising as it had happened outside the main bird migration period.

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