H1N1 discovered in Cheshire turkeys

by Bryan Salvage
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LONDON – A recent routine disease investigation has ruled out avian notifiable disease, but it did detect H1N1 influenza in turkeys on a farm in Cheshire. The strain is closely similar to the human pandemic H1N1 strain currently circulating, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. However, the Health Protection Agency has undertaken a thorough public health risk assessment and said there is no risk to public health.

This finding has resulted from a routine notifiable avian disease investigation relating to a small number of turkeys showing mild signs of disease. During the investigation there was clinical improvement in these birds.

Lab test results show that statutory notifiable avian disease – where the government would need to take animal health action – can be ruled out. Restrictions have been lifted on the farm.

There is no food safety risk. Pandemic H1N1, in common with avian influenza, has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and cooked poultry meat, products and eggs. Bird keepers should continue to maintain appropriate biosecurity measures and be vigilant for signs of notifiable avian disease and report any suspicion promptly to the Animal Health agency.
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