Defra says initial tests on farm in Ubbeston are negative for the H5 and H7 strains potentially dangerous to humans.

Bird ’flu has been discovered on a Bernard Matthews farm in Suffolk.

Defra says initial tests at the farm in Holton are negative for the H5 and H7 strains of the disease, which are potentially lethal for humans.The farm, in Ubbeston, now has movement restrictions in place to stop any turkeys arriving at, or leaving, the premises while tests are carried out. However, Defra has said initial tests have been negative for the H5 and H7 strains, which are potentially lethal for humans.

“The type of avian influenza under investigation is believed to pose only a low risk to public health,” said a spokesman for the department. “Initial tests on the poultry at the premises in the south east have ruled out H5 or H7 strains of the disease, which have the potential to be highly pathogenic and spread quickly.

“The premises remains under restriction pending further results and poultry keepers should remain vigilant by looking for signs of disease in their birds. Any concerns should be reported immediately to their local vet or the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.”

Meanwhile a statement from Bernard Matthews said: “[We] can confirm that some of the birds at one of the business’ farms showed signs of ill health.

“The company felt it was appropriate to report this to Defra. They have detected the presence of an avian influenza virus, but not the virulent H5 or H7 form.”

The company said “some restrictions are in place as a precaution“, but that, as of April 17 2013, are expected to be lifted in “the next few days“.

This is the second outbreak of bird ’flu for Bernard Matthews. In 2007 a large number of turkeys at the company’s Holton farm were culled after the H5N1 subtype of the disease was detected.

Image © istockphoto.com/luvhotpepper
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