England: Bird flu strikes farm in Suffolk as 27,000 chickens are killed.

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Bird flu strikes farm in Suffolk as 27,000 chickens are killed


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Around 27,000 chickens are due to be culled following a bird flu outbreak at a farm in Suffolk. A number of birds at the commercial chicken farm, close to Eye, were found to have the H5 strain of avian flu. However, industry leaders have reassured shoppers that Christmas turkey supplies will be unaffected by the disease, and the Food Standards Agency confirmed that food safety is not at risk. The disease has also been identified as having low risk to humans by Public Health England. A one-kilometre exclusion zone has now been set up around the farm to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council (BPC), said the group is also working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to ensure the outbreak is contained. He continued: ‘The health of our birds remains the priority for BPC member businesses up and down the country. I would like to urge all commercial and non-commercial producers to maintain effective biosecurity on their premises, remain alert for any signs and report suspected disease immediately.’ A spokeswoman for the BPC added: ‘There is no link whatsoever to the Christmas turkey market. It is unaffected by this case. ‘This is a specific farm in Suffolk and the birds are being culled.’

An investigation is also under way to determine the most likely source of the outbreak. Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss encouraged bird keepers to ‘remain alert for any signs of disease’. She said: ‘Report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises. ‘We are urgently looking for any evidence of disease spread associated with this strain to control and eliminate it.’

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