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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 February 2007, 12:32 GMT
Bird flu in Suffolk
On Sunday 04 February 2007, Andrew Marr discussed the Bird flu outbreak with Professor Pat Troop

Please note "BBC Sunday AM" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Disinfection of Norfolk turkey farm
Disinfection barriers at Norfolk turkey farm

ANDREW MARR: The story that's in the news this morning is of course the outbreak of bird flu in Suffolk.

Joining me from our Cambridge studio is the Chief Executive of the Health Protection Agency, Professor Pat Troop. Professor Troop, thank you for coming in this morning.

I suppose one of the questions that everybody is asking is, if there is no threat to human health why is this exclusion zone being created?

Why does there appear to be something between panic and serious worry among all the people dealing with it?

PAT TROOP: Well I think it's mainly for the bird population it is pretty devastating for the poultry farmers and so clearly it's to stop it spreading so we don't have a devastation amongst our poultry industry. So I think that's one of the issue. From the public health point of view, clearly we look at a number factors.

Firstly what is the risk to those who are working on that farm. And we've been giving all of those the anti-virals, and all the people who are going to cull the birds as well, so that we're protecting them. So it doesn't pass very easily to humans, but nevertheless it's important that we protect them.

ANDREW MARR: And so far as you know is there any indication yet that any of the people working on the farm have gone down with bird flu?

PAT TROOP: We've had no reports of symptoms at all. We would be surprised because where it has passed to humans, it is where people have been living very closely, or working very closely, in very different situations without the kind of protection that our poultry workers have.

And even though we've had millions, probably up to billions of birds affected with this virus worldwide and it's still a very small number of people who have been affected where it's been transmitted to humans. It doesn't pass easily from bird to human. So we're being belt and braces though to make sure that we do protect all those who are in contact.

ANDREW MARR: Should people avoid eating turkey at the moment?

PAT TROOP: Absolutely not. It should make no difference whatsoever. It's always the case with poultry, is to cook it properly so that you don't get anything that might have got into the bird. As long as it's cooked properly, in the normal way, there is no risk whatsoevser.

ANDREW MARR: Professor Troop thank you very much indeed for joining us.


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy

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