Bird flu reaches Scotland as control zone is put in place

A suspect case of avian influenza (bird flu) has been identified in chickens on a farm in Dunfermline, Scotland, the Scottish government has stated.

In response, the Scottish authorities have put in place a 1km temporary control zone (TCZ) around the farm.

The birds at the suspect premises will be humanely culled, the Scottish government confirmed.

Initial test results have indicated the presence of a notifiable strain of avian influenza (H5) and the clinical picture suggests that this is a low pathogenic strain and further testing is underway to confirm the strain, it stated.

In order to limit the further spread of disease, appropriate restrictions have been imposed on the suspected premises and any identified contact premises.

Within the temporary control zone, the government has said that a range of different controls are in place which include restrictions of the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure and restrictions on bird gatherings.

There have been a number of recent cases of avian influenza across continental Europe in recent months including three cases in other parts of the UK in 2015.

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Sheila Voas said that immediate action has been taken to contain this case as part of Scotland’s robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu.

Evidence suggests this is a low severity form of the virus however we are taking action to ensure that the disease does not spread or develop into a more severe form.

“I would urge poultry keepers in the surrounding area to be vigilant for any signs of disease and to ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises,” she said.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs in Scotland, Richard Lochhead said that livestock owners and the general public should be assured that the government is doing everything it can to control and prevent the spread of the disease.

“Any poultry producers who are concerned should immediately seek veterinary advice.”

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