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Scottish Bird Flu case identified as highly pathogenic strain

By David Porter

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Following confirmation of avian influenza (H5N1) among a flock of kept birds in the Angus constituency near Arbroath, laboratory results have identified the strain as highly pathogenic in poultry.

In order to limit the further spread of disease, a Protection Zone (PZ) of three kilometres and a Surveillance Zone (SZ) of 10 kilometres have now been put in place around the infected premises.

Within these zones, a range of different controls are now in place, including restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure.

Animal and Plant Health Agency inspectors will conduct visits in the local area to support compliance among bird keepers.

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 that cooked poultry products including eggs are safe to eat.

Rural Affairs Secretary Marie Gougeon said: “Following this confirmation I have put in place measures to help control any further spread of the disease in the surrounding area.

"We ask that the public remain vigilant and report any findings of dead wild birds.”

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: “This highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza (H5N1) has been confirmed and all remaining birds are being humanely culled.

"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.

"Keepers who are concerned about the health or welfare of their flock should seek veterinary advice immediately.

"Private vets, or the local Animal and Plant Health Agency office, will also be able to provide practical advice on keeping birds safe from infection."

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