Brussels, 13 November 2007
Following confirmation of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in a flock of turkeys at the border of Suffolk and Norfolk in the UK, the Commission has today adopted a Decision defining the risk area and confirming the control measures in place. The UK authorities informed the Commission of a suspicion of the virus yesterday and, following laboratory tests on samples from the flock, have confirmed that it is the H5N1 strain. The affected farm held 5 000 fattening turkeys, 1180 ducks and 400 geese, although only the turkeys showed any clinical signs of the disease. Upon suspicion of the virus, the UK authorities responded rapidly, immediately applying the precautionary measures laid down in the EU Avian Influenza Control Directive and the additional measures for the H5N1 virus, including culling all of the poultry on the holding and establishing a 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone around the outbreak as the area A and a further buffer zone as area B. In the restricted zone, all domestic birds must be kept indoors, and all gatherings of poultry and other captive birds are prohibited in England. Poultry cannot be moved (except directly to the slaughterhouse) and meat cannot be dispatched from the zone unless very stringent conditions are met. On-farm biosecurity measures must be strengthened and the authorities are ensuring that all poultry owners are fully aware of the procedures to stop the spread of the virus. Investigation into the possible source of the outbreak is ongoing, and the disease situation will be reviewed at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 20 November.
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