News

Avian Influenza case

Published: 18 Dec 2020 00:18

Disease confirmed in birds in Scotland.

A flock of birds from a farm on the Island of Sanday in Orkney has tested positive for H5N8 Avian Influenza.

In order to limit the further spread of disease, appropriate restrictions have been imposed on the premises and any identified contact premises.

The remaining birds at the premises have been humanely culled and a 10 km temporary control zone has been set up around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease.

Within this zone a range of different controls are now in place. These include restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure and restrictions on bird gatherings.

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

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon said:

“With the recent disease confirmations in wild and captive birds in the UK, it is not unexpected for Avian Influenza to be found in birds here in Scotland. We ask that the public remain vigilant and report any findings of dead wild birds.”

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said:

“This case of H5N8 in a flock of birds on Sanday confirms that Avian Influenza is present in Scotland.

“We have already made clear that all bird keepers – whether major businesses or small keepers with just a few birds – must ensure that their biosecurity is up to scratch to protect their birds from disease and prevent any contact between their birds and wild birds. 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 provide practical advice on keeping your birds safe from infection.

“Any dead wild swans, geese, ducks or gulls, falcons or other birds of prey or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, should be reported to the Defra dead wild bird helpline.

“Public health advice is 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.”

Background

A declaration of a temporary control zone has been published.

In light of evidence from the continent and ongoing high numbers of findings among wild bird populations in England, the risk of incursion of avian influenza has been increased to very high for wild birds and medium for poultry with high biosecurity and high for poultry with poor biosecurity. 

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone.

The UK government’s outbreak assessment following recent cases in the UK.

A cross-Government and industry poster outlining biosecurity advice can be downloaded.

Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu you must report it immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.

In Great Britain, if you find a single dead bird of prey, gull or wild waterfowl (particularly swans, geese or ducks) or find five or more birds of any other species in the same location and at the same time, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 - please select option 7).

Keepers should familiarise themselves with the avian flu advice. 

You can report suspected case of disease by contacting your local Field Services Office.

In GB, you are legally required to register your birds if you keep more than 50 birds. Keepers with less than 50 birds are strongly encouraged to register. It is also a legal requirement to notify APHA of any significant changes in the average number of birds kept.