THOUSANDS of chickens at a farm in Suffolk are to be slaughtered after the confirmation of the H5 strain of avian flu.

Defra has set up a one kilometre exclusion zone around the farm, near Eye, to try to stop the disease spreading.

The disease strain confirmed at a commercial farm at Athelington is 'low pathogenic avian flu (LPAI).

Speaking for Public Health England, Dr Gavin Dabrera, said: "Avian flu is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public's health is very low.

"As a precaution, we are offering public health advice and anti-virals to those who had contact with the affected birds, as is standard practice."

A detailed investigation is under way to determine the most likely source of the outbreak.

In a separate statement, the British Poultry Council said that there was no link to the Christmas turkey market.