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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 15:14 GMT
Bird flu report reveals failings
Dead birds
Some 51,000 chickens were slaughtered in Norfolk
A report into how an outbreak of bird flu in Norfolk was dealt with has exposed a number of shortcomings.

Norfolk County Council reviewed the response to the H7N3 outbreak at three farms in North Tuddenham in March.

One fault highlighted was a breakdown in communication between the government and local authorities which led to the wrong wording used on warning signs.

However, the report concludes that communication improved and the overall response was effective.

The wording for the 1km restriction zone had to be changed from "protective zone" to "restricted zone" after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) decided to use legislation which was about to be brought into place.

Protective clothing

Concerns were also raised that the Government News Network was not immediately available at the scene to help co-ordinate the media response.

"Defra needs to place more trust in local agencies to not mis-use any information passed in confidence to local agencies," the report stated.

Another issue was that police officers at the scene of the incident did not have any protective clothing at the start of the outbreak.

They were on occasions exposed to feathers and dust being thrown up into the air when culled birds were being bagged.

Thousands of birds were culled after the H7N3 strain was discovered.

The chickens at Norwich Road Farm and Mowles Manor Poultry Unit at North Tuddenham were slaughtered after tests showed they had the H7N3 strain.

A cull of 35,000 chickens at the nearby Witford Lodge Farm also took place.

The carcasses were transported to designated incinerators in other parts of the country.

One poultry worker contracted the H7 strain of bird flu in the form of conjunctivitis.

Three others tested negative for the disease.

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