It’s hoped the mass culling of tens of thousands of turkeys at a farm in Southern England will be enough to contain an outbreak of a deadly strain of bird flu. Restriction zones around the Bernard Matthews farm at Holton in Suffolk have been extended.
Experts have played down the threat to humans from H5N1. But the UN’s bird flu specialist David Nabarro fears this may only be the beginning for producers: “I am expecting to see outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a number of locations over the next three or four months and I am basing that on what happened last year.” he admitted during an interview.
The strain, usually carried by infected migrating wildfowl, has killed at least 165 people since 2003, most of them in Asia where humans and livestock live in close proximity. But in the Holton outbreak, questions have been asked over how the virus was introduced into a closed shed.
The cull at the farm run by Europe’s largest turkey producer began on Saturday. The UK farm ministry has confirmed the virus is the same strain which caused an outbreak in Hungary last month.