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Bird flu spreads west, hitting big turkey farm in England

Also, the World Heath Organization confirms Nigeria's first human death from the strain.

By Washington Post
Published February 4, 2007


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LONDON - The deadly H5N1 Asian strain of bird flu, which has killed 165 people since 2003, has been confirmed on a commercial turkey farm in eastern England, health authorities said Saturday.

Officials said the disease has killed 2,600 turkeys on the Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Suffolk, about 130 miles northeast of London. All 159,000 turkeys at Bernard Matthews, one of Europe's leading producers, were being slaughtered as a precaution.

The outbreak is the first confirmed case of H5N1 among British domestic poultry in more than 15 years, officials said, and it comes at a time of increasing concern that migrating birds are carrying the disease from its origins in Asia through Africa, the Middle East and deeper into Europe.

On Saturday, the World Heath Organization confirmed Nigeria's first human death from the strain.

While transmission of the disease from birds to humans is rare, the WHO says more than 270 people have been infected with H5N1 and that 165 have died since 2003, mainly in Asia. There have been no reported cases of human infection in Europe or the United States.

[Last modified February 4, 2007, 01:23:09]


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