Second bird flu outbreak confirmed

A second outbreak of the potentially fatal H5N1 strain of bird flu has been found on the Suffolk/Norfolk borders.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed Monday afternoon a second outbreak of the virus has been found at a farm near Thetford.

Acting chief veterinary Officer Fred Landeg said: “The laboratory test results today highlight the importance of poultry keepers in the area being extremely vigilant.

“It is essential they practice the highest levels of biosecurity and report any suspicions of disease to their local Animal Health office.”

Tests were ordered yesterday after the farm was identified as one of three “dangerous contacts” at risk of contracting the virus from the original outbreak at premises near Diss.

All four farms are operated by Redgrave Poultry and share workers and resources.

All 9,000 turkeys at the farm were culled before the results were confirmed.

Defra officials say the flock appeared clinically healthy, indicating the virus had been caught in its earliest stages.

A second three kilometre protection zone has been enforced around the farm and the surveillance zone extended. Most of Norfolk and Suffolk now lies within a restricted zone and a nationwide ban on the movement of birds is in place.

As of late yesterday, at least 28,600 birds had been culled as Defra acts to contain the virus.