Defra confirms strain found on company’s Suffolk farm last week (April 17, 2013) is that of the H9N2 strain, which it insists poses a “very low risk” to humans. Bernard Matthews says affected flock is “fully recovered”.

Defra has confirmed the strain of avian influenza found on the Ubbeston, Suffolk farm of Bernard Matthews last week (April 17, 2013) was that of H9N2, confirming initial suspicions the strain posed a “very low risk” to human health.

The affected flock has been trated with antibiotics and has made a Speaking to Vetsonline, a spokesman for the department said: “All the tests have been done now and it’s been confirmed the strain is H9N2 – so that’s believed to have a very low risk to public health and it is a non-notifiable disease as well.”

Discussing where the disease came from, she said: “It’s a strain of the disease that’s been circulating in Europe over recent years – it’s quite a common one.”

According to the spokesman, movement restrictions on the farm have been lifted and the birds have recovered; no cull was required.

A spokesman for Bernard Matthews, meanwhile, said that it was not an outbreak of bird flu at the farm, but rather a low key infection with a low pathogenic form of the virus. She also confirmed the affected flock had made a “full recovery” and that restrictions had been lifted and that no other Bernard Matthews sites were affected.

The H9N2 strain of the virus is believed to come from domestic poultry in Asia and is rarely found in humans. However, it has caused mild illness in some children in Hong Kong.

This is the second outbreak of bird influenza for the company. In 2007, a large number of turkeys at the firm’s Holton farm were culled after the H5N1 subtype of the disease, which is potentially lethal to humans, was detected.

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