Britain destroyed 159,000 turkeys this week following the discovery of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian flu on a farm in eastern England. Ireland, Russia, Macedonia, South Korea, South Africa, Japan and Hong Kong banned British poultry imports, while the Netherlands and Norway ordered restrictions on their commercial poultry in an effort to stem potential spread of the infection, reports the International Herald Tribune.

The outbreak was discovered on a farm owned by Bernard Matthews, a British company and Europe's largest turkey producer. Britain is the European Union's (EU) second-largest poultry producer, behind only France.

Government scientists have yet to identify the source of the outbreak, but the strain is identical to one found in geese in Hungary last month, the first known case of H5N1 in the EU since August 2006.

Thus far, outbreaks have been detected in birds in about 50 countries, and bird flu has killed at least 165 people worldwide since 2003. More than 200 million birds have died or been destroyed to prevent its spread.

-- Joe Roybal