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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 February 2007, 15:06 GMT
Bird flu community in shock
An outbreak of bird flu on a poultry farm in Suffolk has been confirmed as H5N1, the strain of the virus that can be fatal for humans. People living near the outbreak have been giving their reaction.

IAN MARTIN, 19

Mr Martin, a student from Lowestoft, said: "Bernard Matthews is a big employer because there's a lot of unemployment and a lot of people I know left school to work there.

Map of Suffolk

"You see Bernard Matthews buses in Lowestoft which take people to Holton.

"Local reaction here is shock. My own thought was 'Will I be okay' but now I know you need to be in contact with the birds my mind has been put at rest.

"And I'm pretty sure the people I know who work there won't be in danger, there's been so few fatalities worldwide."

GINA THOMPSON, 37

Ms Thompson, who lives in Beccles, a market town about 12 miles from the farm, said: "My first reaction was 'Oh, no, this is going to be a massive problem' because we are very much a wetland area. It's the beginning of the Suffolk broads running through this town.

I know a lot of people who have a few fowl to put eggs on the table and they will struggle

"A lot of people fish at the quay and own boats there. There are ducks and swans there that people feed.

"If people get paranoid that they don't want these wild fowl near their boats they could mysteriously disappear."

She fears there could be hysteria because people are not well-informed.

"They're aware of the illness and there's concern about it crossing over to humans and people working with birds are prone to catching it but I don't think people are aware of the degree of risk.

"I know a lot of people who have a few fowl to put eggs on the table and they will struggle because they won't have anywhere indoors to keep them."


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