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Hungary admits to 'possible' bird flu link

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  • Hungary admits to 'possible' bird flu link

    Hungary admits to 'possible' bird flu link

    May 16, 2007 08:00 am | Despite months of previous denials, Hungary last week admitted that it might have been involved in the bird flu epidemic that broke out in Great Britain at the beginning of this year, online news portal quoted The Telegraph of the UK as saying.

    According to the paper, deputy chief veterinarian Lajos Bognár's statement said that "It is possible that Hungary exported the H5N1 virus, also dangerous for humans, to the Bernard Matthews farm in January."

    Some 160,000 turkeys were slaughtered at the Bernard Matthews farm in Suffolk after the outbreak. However, Bognár added that the responsibility for the outbreak still lies with the British company, which did not comply with certain regulations.

    Cannot be blamed

    "It is possible that the virus was in a period of incubation, as Hungarian birds did not show signs of it and some of these animals were transported to the UK. However, Hungary cannot be blamed, as it was Bernard Matthews which did not keep several bio-safety measures," Bognár said.

    As previously reported, the same virus has been found at a farm in Szentes, Hungary, where it also killed several thousand animals. The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) since then has paid the British company compensation of around Ft230m ($1.2m), while, according to The Telegraph, the Hungarian farm is still waiting to be reimbursed.

    Tibor Garai, head of Kolos Agro Kft told the paper that the damage the virus caused at his particular farm is as high as Ft74m ($403,000).

    "It is outrageous that Hungarian farms are being blamed for the outbreak in the UK," he said.