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breaking news

Bird keepers urged to maximise biosecurity

Bird keepers in Scotland have been reminded to maximise biosecurity and keep their flocks separated from wild birds after Avian Influenza H5N8 was confirmed in a small flock of poultry from a farm on Sanday.

Laboratory results of samples taken from the flock have identified the strain as highly pathogenic. In order to limit the further spread of disease, appropriate restrictions have been imposed on the premises and any identified contact premises.

A Protection Zone (PZ) of 3 km and a Surveillance Zone (SZ) of 10 km have now been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of spread of the disease. Within these zones a range of different controls are in place, including restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure.

Producers and bird keepers are reminded to comply with the order to house birds that came in to effect on December 14, or ensure they are kept separate from wild birds and follow biosecurity procedures.

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon said: Following this confirmation I have put in place controls required under domestic and EU legislation that will help control any further spread of the disease in the surrounding area.  We ask that the public remain vigilant and report any findings of dead wild birds.”

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: This finding is not unexpected given we have already seen a significant number of dead wild birds test positive for this highly pathogenic strain and a number of other cases already identified in England.

It is vital that keepers take steps to improve their biosecurity and protect their birds from disease. Keepers who are concerned about the health or welfare of their flock should seek veterinary advice immediately. Your private vet, or your local Animal and Plant Health Agency office, will also be able to practical provide advice on keeping your birds safe from infection.

Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products including eggs.”