Bird flu outbreak in Scotland

Confirmation of an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in a flock of free-range hens on a commercial premises near Gretna in Dumfriesshire has highlighted the continuing risks posed by the disease.

And while the infected flock will be slaughtered, and additional protection measures put in place around the area, the authorities reminded bird keepers of the need to comply with the Order to house their birds, which came in to effect last week.

“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,” said Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon.

“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 added:

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“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.”

She said that keepers who were 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.”

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