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Bird flu outbreak in UK

Published on 11 February, 2007, Last updated at 14:16 GMT


A cull of tens of thousands of turkeys took place over the weekend to contain an outbreak of bird flu on a Suffolk farm.

Government vets are still trying to find the source of the outbreak at a Bernard Matthews site in Lowestoft where the H5N1 strain of the flu was first misdiagnosed as e-coli on Thursday.

Bird flu has killed 164 people across the world since 2003 so a three-kilometre protection zone has been set up around the farm while the turkeys are taken for incineration in Staffordshire.

Dr Robert Webster, a flu expert, said: 'The greatest concern of mine is the resurgence of these viruses in Japan, South Korea and Thailand where they had aggressively stamped out the virus and the virus has come back in.'

He added that British turkeys are particularly vulnerable owing to their stocks being so inbred and genetically similar.

The UN bird flu envoy says that Europe should be ready for more outbreaks and the government has stockpiled Tamiflu vaccines for a quarter of the population.


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