Scotland confirms bird flu outbreak
The Scottish Government has confirmed an outbreak of bird flu among several free-range hens that tested positive on a commercial premises near Gretna in Dumfries and Galloway. As a result, and to stop the spread, the area has been put in lockdown. Restrictions to contain the virus, including curbs on the movement of poultry or eggs, have been implemented.
To prevent the possibility of more cases emerging, it is reported that all the remaining birds at the location have been humanely culled. Mairi Gougeon, Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary 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 remains 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”.
Sheila Voas, Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer, commented, “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 continued, “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”.
Adding, “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”, as reported by thescottishsun.co.uk.