Bird flu has been found in chickens at a Scottish farm - but humans are not at risk

An outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed in a flock of chickens at a farm in Scotland.

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The H5N8 strain of bird flu, also known as avian influenza, was found after a flock of free range chickens tested positive for the disease in Sanday, Orkney.

Health officials say that restrictions have been put into place at the farm, with a six mile control zone also temporarily set up in order to prevent spread.

A total of 39 free range laying chickens died of bird flu, with the 11 remaining chickens in the affected flock put down.

The measures put into place in Orkney include restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure, as well as restrictions on bird gatherings.

‘Avian influenza is present in Scotland’

Scotland’s chief veterinary officer, Sheila Voas, said that the risk of H5N8 Avian Influenza posing a risk to human health was very low.

Ms 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.”

Ms Voas added, “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.”

The veterinary officer said the virus does not affect the consumption of poultry products including eggs.

Scotland’s rural affairs and natural environment minister, 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.”