Restrictions introduced to limit disease spread.
A backyard flock of mixed poultry near Collieston, Aberdeenshire, has tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1.
In order to limit the further spread of disease, appropriate restrictions have been imposed on the premises and any identified contact premises, plus the area of the Surveillance Zone.
To limit the risk of spread of the disease, the remaining birds at the premises will be humanely culled and a 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone have been declared around the infected premises – taking effect (insert time) on 11 March.
Within these zones, 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, which came in to effect on 29 November 2021, or to ensure their birds are kept separate from wild birds. Bird keepers must ensure they follow biosecurity procedures.
The additional housing measures build on the strengthened biosecurity regulations that were brought in across Great Britain as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) on 3 November 2021 and in and Northern Ireland on 17 November 2021.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:
“In order to try to keep their birds safe and stop the spread of the disease, producers and bird keepers are reminded to comply with the housing Order from last year. We ask that the public continue to remain vigilant and report any findings of dead wild birds to Defra’s national telephone helpline. Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that you find.”
Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said:
“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.
“The risk to the general public's health from avian influenza is very low. However, the risk to people with intensive exposure to infected birds is considered to be low. Food Standards Scotland advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs. ”
A Declaration of a 3 km Protection Zone and 10 km Surveillance Zone has been published.
Bird keepers whose premises become an IP (infected premises) are compensated when their birds are humanely culled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
For advice and regular updates on the latest situation, visit the Scottish Government avian flu pages.
Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that you find. In Great Britain, if you find a single dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), a single dead bird of prey, or five or more dead wild birds of any other species (including gulls) at the same place at the same time, you should report them to the GB-wide telephone helpline run by Defra: 03459 33 55 77.
Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in Scotland to your local Field Services Office.
Avian influenza is in no way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is not carried in poultry or captive birds.
The outbreak assessment following recent cases in the UK is available online.
In light of outbreaks across the UK and high numbers of findings among wild bird populations, the risk of incursion of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 infection in wild birds is very high (occurs often). The risk of poultry and captive bird exposure to HPAI H5 across Great Britain is high where biosecurity is sub-optimal, and medium where stringent biosecurity measures are applied.
A cross-Government and industry poster outlining biosecurity advice can be downloaded.
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