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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 16:30 GMT
In quotes: the Hungary connection
As government vets say they believe avian flu was transferred to Suffolk via poultry and not wild birds, a timeline of the official line on possible links with an outbreak of H5N1 in Hungary in January.

FRIDAY 9 FEBRUARY

What we have is new data which indicates that the virus that is present in Suffolk is identical to the virus that was present in Hungary. My conclusion from that would be that this is a poultry-to-poultry infection rather than a wild bird to poultry infection.
Professor Sir David King, the government's chief scientific adviser

We have made all our checks and they (the imported turkeys) have come from nowhere near the restricted region. That is what our paperwork says to us.
Bernard Matthews' commercial director Bart Dalla Mura

What we are in the middle of is a very complex epidemiological study, it is rather like a jigsaw puzzle. We are putting it together.
Dr Fred Landeg, Deputy Chief Vet

Bernard Matthews now have some very serious questions to answer about their bio-security.
Shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth

THURSDAY 8 FEBRUARY

The government is developing its investigation into what might have caused the outbreak of avian influenza in the Suffolk poultry farm, following preliminary scientific tests showing the viruses in Suffolk and recent outbreaks in Hungary may well be identical.
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs statement

Our investigations have shown that one possible route of infection is poultry product imported from Hungary. It is important that this is investigated thoroughly, along with all the other possible routes.

The company involved have voluntarily agreed to temporarily suspend the movement of poultry products between their outlets in the UK and Hungary until the investigation is complete.
Dr Fred Landeg, Deputy Chief Vet

If this turned out to be the source of the infection I would be very surprised.

We do transport meat but we don't move live birds between Hungary and the UK.

There is no suggestion of any infection at our Hungarian plant and no suggestion of any infection in turkeys in Hungary.

If we had any concerns about our Hungarian operation we would say so - as we did at Holton. We operate with as much rigour in Hungary as we do in the UK.
Bart Dalla Mura, Bernard Matthews commercial director

TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY

Our farm [in Hungary] is about 160 miles away from the outbreak and vets agree it is just not a source of questioning at all.

There is not a remote possibility it would have happened in that way.
Bernard Matthews commercial director Bart Dalla Mura

The UK made a presentation this morning at the [EU] committee where they said it doesn't seem likely the infection came from Hungary.
EU spokesman Michael Mann

MONDAY 5 FEBRUARY

The chicks [at the Suffolk farm] all came from within this country, so there is no Hungarian connection of that sort. The factory involved in the Hungarian outbreak was not a Bernard Matthews factory.

We have not dismissed any suggestions. We are pursuing all possible avenues of inquiry.

It remains the case that the most likely reason or route of this problem does lie in a link with the wild bird population, but that does not mean we should not pursue any other avenues in a serious way with full speed, and that is what we are doing.
Environment secretary David Miliband addresses the House of Commons

All our birds are British. The fact that we have a Hungarian operation is immaterial. It is very unlikely. It's a complete mystery to us, too. We have the highest biosafety standards of anyone. We are waiting for Defra to finish its investigations and they will tell us the likely cause.
Bernard Matthews' spokesman quoted in the Guardian

There could be a direct contact between a Hungarian farm and the Bernard Matthews farm, by which I mean a person travelling from one to the other. Or more likely it is wild birds travelling across to Britain from that area.
Professor Sir David King, the government's chief scientific adviser, tells the BBC





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