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Researchers develop bird flu diagnostic device

Bird flu outbreaks cause disruption for farmers Credit: ITV Anglia

Norfolk scientists have been given a grant to help create new technology to help diagnose bird flu.

The disease has caused major problems for the region's poultry farmers, leading to restriction zones and culls. It's hoped researchers at Iceni Diagnostics want to create a hand held diagnostic machine.

The device could be used by a vet on-farm. The device would use a carbohydrate-based chemical, developed in ID's Norwich Research Park laboratories, which latches on to the avian influenza virus, providing an instant diagnosis and speeding up a process that currently requires samples to be sent off for testing. It's hoped this new method might reduce the need for precautionary mass culls of poultry in the future.

The work has been made possible thanks to a £60,000 grant from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative.

Bird Flu outbreak in Norfolk

Outbreak in Norfolk Credit: PA images

Bird flu has broken out in a flock of birds at a premises in Norfolk.

The H5N8 strain of avian flu was confirmed to have hit a small flock of around 35 chickens and geese in the market town of Diss.

A number have died and the remaining live birds at the premises are being humanely culled, according to Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

A protection zone and a wider surveillance zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading, and an investigation is under way to find the source of the infection.

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Bird Flu restrictions at Bernard Matthews Farms

Bird flu outbreak Credit: ITV News

Restrictions are in place at a Bernard Matthews farm in Suffolk after an outbreak of bird flu.

Government scientists are carrying out tests at a farm after some birds showed signs of ill health.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says the virus detected is not the strain that can spread to humans, and are hoping to lift restrictions in the next few days.