Avian flu outbreak discovered in Scotland

Avian flu has been identified among birds being kept at a premises in Aberdeenshire, prompting restrictions to be put in place for the surrounding area.

The highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 was found in a backyard flock of mixed poultry near Collieston.

The birds have now been humanely culled, while a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone have been established around the premises.

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In these areas, there will be restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure.

Ducks await being sent to a slaughterhouse. Picture: Gaizka Iroz/AFP via Getty Images

Other outbreaks of H5N1 were identified in Dumfries and Galloway as well as Arbroath towards the end of last year.

The Scottish Government’s 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 urged all bird keepers to ensure their biosecurity measures were up to scratch.

She said: “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.”

Bird flu had previously been detected in a separate case in a free range flock of hens near Gretna in December.

Letters warning residents of a nearby avian flu outbreak were also sent to residents across the UK’s North East earlier this week.

It comes as Defra confirmed there had been 83 cases of avian flu in England, including cases in Blaydon, Gateshead, and Byker, Newcastle.

There were other separate cases reported late last year in the UK, with bird flu found on a mixed poultry premises near Crickhowell, Brecon and Radnorshire, Powys, late last year, along with a second case identified in Northern Ireland, in a flock in Co Antrim.

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