Bird Flu Prevention Zone: New measures for Scottish keepers to prevent the spread of bird flu after latest outbreak

New measures are being put in place after an outbreak of bird flu, known as H5N8, in England and Europe.

The Scottish Government is implementing a prevention zone which introduces stringent biosecurity measures for all bird keepers, including those who keep pet birds.

They have said that this is a precautionary step in response to cases of the bird flu in England and Europe, specifically Cheshire in England and cases in wild birds in Netherlands and north of Germany.

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The government has warned of threat of a new outbreak of bird flu.

These wild birds are waterfowl flyway from breeding grounds in western Russia, where the H5N8 strain was reported in poultry in mid-October.

The measures in Scotland will be kept under review and will be adjusted to reflect the risks.

A similar zone has been declared in England and Wales.

Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said:“We have declared a Prevention Zone as a precautionary measure to protect Scotland’s poultry industry. I urge all bird keepers to maintain and strengthen their farm biosecurity measures in order to help prevent an outbreak of avian influenza in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government and its partners continue to monitor the situation in in England and in Europe closely and stand ready to respond to any suspicion of disease in Scotland. Any bird keepers who have concerns should immediately seek veterinary advice.”

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas added: “The risk of an HPAI incursion into poultry in the UK was very recently raised from low to ‘medium’, although for wild birds the risk has been raised from ‘medium’ to ‘high’. It is normal to see these viruses circulating among wild bird populations at this time of year, however the strain seen in Europe appears to be particularly virulent which is a cause for some concern.

“Consumers should not be concerned about eating eggs or poultry given the expert advice about food safety and human health.”

Anybody who comes across dead wild birds should contact Defra on 03459 33 55 77.

Anyone reporting suspected cases of bird flu should contact their local Field Services Office.

More advice and regular updates on the latest situation is available on the Scottish Governments’ avian flu site.

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