Bird flu outbreak in Britain

Stephen Beard Feb 5, 2007
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Bird flu outbreak in Britain

Stephen Beard Feb 5, 2007
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

SCOTT JAGOW: We haven’t heard much about bird flu lately. That’s a good thing. But there’s been an outbreak on a poultry farm in Britain now. Our man in London, Stephen Beard is with us. Stephen, what happened?

STEPHEN BEARD: Some 2,000 turkeys died on a factory farm in the east of England and the British government ordered then the destruction of 160,000 turkeys. Also, 2,000 people work at this facility — 100 of those have now been given Tamiflu, the antiviral agent.

JAGOW: And what’s been the reaction in Britain to this outbreak?

BEARD: Well obviously the biggest fear is the one that we all have: That H5N1 will combine with human flu, will create a strain that causes a devastating pandemic. More immediately though, the concerns are economic.

JAGOW: Economic, now what might that impact be?

BEARD: Well the first effect is likely to be on Britain’s poultry export trade. Already Japan has suspended imports of British birds and it is feared that many other countries could follow suit. And this would hit a trade that’s worth about three-quarters of a billion dollars a year. Beyond that, there is an even bigger economic concern and that is that this could hit confidence in the domestic poultry market and we’d be talking here not just about turkeys but also chickens and perhaps even eggs — a market worth $7 billion a year.

JAGOW: OK Stephen, thank you.

BEARD: OK Scott.

JAGOW: Our European correspondent Stephen Beard in London.

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