Avian Flu

House of Lords written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of Baroness Byford Baroness Byford Shadow Minister (Food & Rural Affairs), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether their investigation into the recent avian flu outbreak at Bernard Matthews has considered movements made by employees and their families between England and Hungary.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State (Sustainable Farming and Food), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Sustainable Farming and Food), The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

All possible routes of infection are being investigated, and we have not yet been able to rule out any method of introduction. However, the possibility of workers carrying the disease is very small, and no such movements have been identified to date.

The Defra interim epidemiological report was published on 16 February. It identified two possible hypotheses for the introduction of H5N1 into the poultry premises at Suffolk: introduction associated with imports from Hungary and introduction via wild birds. The report concluded that introduction via the importing of products from Hungary is the most plausible cause. However, the investigation is ongoing and no possibilities have been ruled out. A full report will be published when the investigation is complete. It is likely that it will take a few weeks yet.

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