Bird flu outbreak blow to turkey market

15-11-2007 | |

The deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza has been identified in a flock of free-range turkeys in the town of Diss in East Anglia (Suffolk) in England. The arrival of the virus comes at the worst time for the poultry industry as it prepares for Christmas.

The source of the infection has not been determined yet, but government vets
fear the H5N1 strain might be endemic in the British wild bird
population.

The virus is identical to the strain that was found in
outbreaks in Czech Republic and southern Germany this autumn.

Birds
(5,000 turkeys, 1,000 ducks, 500 geese) at the infected farm have immediately
been culled. Poultry on another two farms feared to have been in contact with
the infected farm may be culled in the next few days.

Important turkey
area
East
Anglia produces about a third of Britain’s turkeys and there are fears that if
the virus takes hold the £400 million (€567m) market for Christmas birds will be
lost.

There are three million birds alone in the
10km surveillance zone around the infected Redgrave Park Farm. Protection and
surveillance zones of 3km and 10km were put in place around the
farm.

There is particular concern that the infected free-range
turkeys had been allowed to mingle with wild birds that gather at an ornamental
lake which is part of the infected farm premises, and that a reservoir of virus
may have built up in the bird population on the farm.

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