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19th December, 2007

Avian Influenza - remaining restrictions lifted

Wednesday 12:32

Defra has today lifted the remaining disease control restrictions put in place following the outbreak of H5N1 Avian Influenza in Suffolk.

As of 11.00am, the Surveillance and Restriction Zones will be lifted, and all related restrictions on bird gatherings and movements of poultry and poultry meat within the zones will also lift. This follows expert consideration of surveillance and tracing results which indicate that infection has been contained to the two premises in Suffolk.

Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Fred Landeg said: "Although this marks the end of our active disease control measures in the affected area, we continue to investigate the source of the virus introduction, and expect to publish a final epidemiology report in the new year. "Poultry keepers must endeavour to learn from this outbreak to prevent and manage similar situations in the future. All should regularly review their biosecurity measures to ensure they meet best practice and remain vigilant for signs of disease."

Further information The earliest that a Surveillance Zone can be lifted is 30 days after preliminary cleansing and disinfection has been completed.

Advice and information on H5N1 avian influenza is available via the Defra website: http://www.defra.gov.uk/avianflu or via the Defra Helpline on 08459 33 55 77. Poultry keepers can also call the Animal Health recorded information line for the latest updates on 0844 884 4600.

Avian influenza is a disease of birds and whilst it can pass very rarely and with difficulty to humans, this usually requires extremely close contact with infected birds, particularly faeces. As a precautionary measure those who might have been exposed would be offered the appropriate treatment and protection in line with established protocols.

Advice from the Food Standards Agency remains that properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Public enquiries 08459 335577; Press notices are available on our website http://www.defra.gov.uk Defra's aim is sustainable development

Client ref 480/07

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