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    Turkeys at Bernard Matthews farms being treated for symptoms of birdflu.

    NewsPoultry NewsMonday 22 April 2013
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    At a farm operated by Bernard Matthews Farms Limited, tests are being carried out on Turkeys housed there due to them showing symptoms of bird flu. Thankfully the initial tests on the turkeys were for the H5 and H7 strains and these proved negative. These are the strains that are harmful to humans. For officials it is very worrying as the epidemic in China is getting worse and spreading across the country.
     
    Tests are being carried out on a Bernard Matthews run farm in Suffolk after the birds were showing symptoms of the flu. The Government's food and farming department DEFRA confirmed that its investigators have found a strain of the virus at the farm. The farm has already been placed into a quarantine mode with no turkeys allowed to leave.
     
    Historically any evidence of bird flue is taken extremely serious and previously birds have been culled in their thousands to prevent the spread of the virus.
     
    The company believes that the 5,000 turkeys involved in the case can be treated with antibiotics rather than destroyed as they are breeding stock rather than for meat production.
     
    Bernard Matthews is a company that have had problems before with the bird flue virus. In 2007 they were highly criticised after a strain of the H5N1 was found and an official inquiry argued that they did not have the correct health and hygiene procedures in place which helped the virus spread. As a result of that, up to 159,000 young turkeys were slaughtered and other farms across East Anglia were placed into quarantine and not able to transport their poultry.
     
    Speaking on behalf of the company, a spokesperson said : ‘On Sunday the birds were displaying symptoms of ill health, which Bernard Matthews recognised as bird flu because of previous outbreaks.
    ‘We notified Defra, which agreed and has since ruled out the illness as being the H5 and H7 forms of the virus - the notifiable strains which can be transferred from birds to humans.
    ‘Prior to Defra’s arrival we treated the birds with antibiotics and the birds have been getting better since.’

    ‘I would like to stress - there is no risk whatsoever to humans from this outbreak.’ 
     
    A DEFRA spokesperson also added that ‘We are awaiting further laboratory test results from an on-going investigation into suspect avian disease at a premises in the South East.
    ‘The premises remains under restriction pending further results.
    ‘Public Health England are aware and are ready to take the necessary action pending further test results.’ 
     
    Bernard Matthews Farms was founded in 1950 and is based across East Anglia with its headquarters in Norfolk. It has 56 farms across the region and employs over 2500 staff. Every year it is responsible for farming up to 7 million turkeys. Bernard Matthews died in 2010.
     
    Source: Mail Online

    Photo: Martin Pettitt

     

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