Farm worker bitten by turkey

A Bernard Matthews farm worker was bitten by a turkey as he helped cull birds ­last Saturday, it was revealed last night.

A Bernard Matthews farm worker was bitten by a turkey as he helped cull birds on Saturday, it was revealed last night.

The cut on André Lacerda's hand was washed with alcohol by a nurse, he was given a new pair of gloves and sent back to work catching turkeys.

But the 21-year-old, one of only seven workers rounding up birds on the first night of the cull, only went to hospital on Thursday after a doctor rang him from Portugal and ordered him to go.

The worker, from Lisbon, was immediately put into isolation at the James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, and kept under observation.

Mr Lacerda described last night how he watched snow falling for the first time in his life from his hospital room and thought he might die.

He said that despite telling a nurse, a "red hat" (a senior manager) and bosses in the office at Bernard Matthews that he had been bitten, no one told him that he needed to go to hospital.

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The Portuguese doctor was alerted only after his worried mother in Lisbon rang the chief bird-flu expert in Portugal.

Mr Lacerda said: "I should not have been working after being bitten as I could have got bird flu, but the company didn't care."

The company has now told him to take the next three days off to make sure he is in the clear.

Mr Lacerda said: "When the doctor told me I was in danger and I was a danger to humanity, I was scared.

"In the isolation room I thought about my mother, my brother and my girlfriend. I thought about my life. I sat and watched the snow. I had never seen snow. All I wanted to do was go out and see the snow, but I was not allowed to leave the hospital."

Doctors gave him the tamiflu anti-viral drug and after six hours told him he was in the clear.

Mr Lacerda admitted, however, that he was still a bit scared after developing flu symptoms.

A company spokesman said last night that if the workers reported to them, they would look into what had happened.