Bird flu found on Norfolk farm

Bird flu has been found in a large flock of chickens in the heart of Norfolk, it has been confirmed by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

Bird flu has been found in a large flock of chickens in the heart of Norfolk, it has been confirmed by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

The virus tested positive for the H7 strain - not the deadly type of H5N1 responsible for causing the deaths of more than 100 people around the world.

The first case of bird flu in a farmed flock in Britain is now under investigation but initial tests have revealed that the virus is not the lethal H5N1 type found in a dead swan at Cellardyke, in Fife, Scotland last month.

Movement restrictions have been imposed at the farm near Dereham, while investigations into the possible sources of the infection continue. Officials at Defra last night stressed that the entire flock of 35,000 chickens will be slaughtered to prevent potential spread of the disease.


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A Defra official also said that movement restrictions have not yet been extended beyond the site of the H7 bird flu infection.

However, it is expected that a 3km ban on poultry movements and a further 10km surveillance zone from the Tuddenham farm will be established when scientists have made further tests.

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A leading Norfolk poultry farmer, Nigel Joice, said: “This is very bad news because it has been found in a farmed flock.”

“This is a disease of birds,” said Mr Joice, who is the regional chairman of the National Farmers' Union's poultry board.

The last major outbreak of the H7 strain devastated the Dutch poultry industry in 2003 when a total of 32 million birds were slaughtered as part of the control measures.

There is no risk to human health from eating eggs or chicken, which is properly cooked, the Food Standards Agency said last night.

BLOB If you find a dead swan, goose or duck or three or more dead wild, or garden birds together in the same place, please report this to Defra, via the Defra Helpline on 08459 33 55 77. If the dead bird is a single, small garden, or wild bird then you do not need to call Defra.

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