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Avian Influenza Prevention Zone declared in response to cases of highly pathogenic H5N8

By David Porter

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An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone applying to all of Scotland has been declared.

It introduces stringent biosecurity measures for all bird keepers (including those who keep pet birds) to help prevent the spread of avian influenza from wild birds or any other source.

This precautionary step has been taken in response to cases of a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 causing high mortality in poultry and wild birds in England and in Europe.

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

A similar zone has also been declared in England and Wales.

Chief vet Sheila Voas
Chief vet Sheila Voas

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 said: “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.”

Avian influenza is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of avian influenza you must report it immediately. Failure to do so is an offence.

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