News

New case of Avian Influenza

Published: 03 Dec 2021 22:51

Disease confirmed in poultry in Scotland.

A flock of free-range hens from a commercial premises near Gretna, Dumfriesshire, Dumfries and Galloway, 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, which overlaps into other regions.

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 00:01 on 04 December – to limit the risk of spread of the disease.

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, 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:

“With the recent disease confirmations in wild and captive birds across 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 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.

“Any dead wild swans, geese, ducks or birds of prey, or five or more dead wild birds of other species (including gulls) in the same location at the same time, should be reported to Defra’s national telephone 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 3 km Protection Zone and 10 km Surveillance Zone has been published and can be read online here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/avian-influenza-protection-and-surveillance-zone-dumfriesshire-december-2021

Bird keepers whose premises become an IP (infected premises) are compensated when their birds are humanely culled by the Animal and Plant Health Agency. 

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (including housing): 24 November 2021

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 Defra’s national telephone helpline: 03459 33 55 77 (please select option 7).

Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in Scotland to your local Field Services Office. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.

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 has increased to high (occurs often). The risk of poultry and captive bird exposure to HPAI H5 across Great Britain has been raised to medium where biosecurity is sub-optimal, and remains at low where stringent biosecurity measures are applied.

Food safety advice for cooking poultry and eggs remains unchanged. See advice on safe cooking of eggs and poultry.

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 GB, you are legally required to register your birds on the GB Poultry Register 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.