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Avian Influenza in Lincolnshire

Published: 16 Dec 2016 18:00

Bird keepers should review biosecurity and house birds.

Bird keepers in Scotland are being reminded of the need for excellent biosecurity and to house birds following a confirmed case of Avian Influenza in England.

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone recently declared across Scotland is in force until 6 January 2017. That means all bird keepers should keep their birds housed if possible or otherwise take steps to ensure they are separated from wild birds. 

Avian flu of the H5N8 strain has been confirmed in turkeys at a farm near Louth in Lincolnshire today.

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing said:

“I am aware of the case of Avian Influenza in Lincolnshire and we are working with Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to determine the cause and possible spread of the disease.

“The arrival of H5N8 in the UK highlights how essential it is that bird keepers comply with the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, as well as maintaining excellent biosecurity on their premises.  The Scottish Government declared this zone as a precaution against disease, although we knew that there was always a risk of the virus arriving in the UK with migratory wild birds.”

Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said:

“The fact that H5N8 has been detected in housed turkeys highlights the importance of biosecurity.  We know that H5N8 is circulating in wild birds, and simply moving your birds indoors may not be enough to protect them if your biosecurity is not sufficient.  Businesses should also review their contingency plans in case of an outbreak.

“Guidance on biosecurity and preventing disease within the Prevention Zone which is available through the gov.scot website.  I would also strongly urge keepers to discuss their specific arrangements with their private vets, or local Animal Plant and Health Agency office, who are best placed to provide practical advice.  Keepers who are concerned about the health or welfare of their flock should seek veterinary advice immediately.

“Expert advice remains that consumers should not be concerned about eating eggs or poultry.”

Dr Jim McMenamin of Health Protection Scotland said:

“Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has advised that the threat to public health from this strain of avian influenza H5N8 is very low. HPS, and the other health protection teams across the UK will continue to monitor the situation in conjunction with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).”

Background

Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease. Anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must report it to their local Animal Plant & Health Agency office. Contact details can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/ahvla-en/about-us/contact-us/field-services/

The UK Government have confirmed the case in Lincolnshire. More information is available at - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu

More information about Avian Influenza - including biosecurity guidance - is available from the Scottish Government website www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza

The last Scottish Avian Influenza outbreak was Low Pathogenic H5N1 in Dunfermline, January 2016. 

As part of routine wildlife disease surveillance post-mortem examinations of birds are undertaken in incidents where any ‘at risk’ bird species (wildfowl or gulls), or five or more birds of any other species, are found dead in the same location and at the same time.

In the United Kingdom, members of the public are asked to report these incidents to Defra’s national helpline (email defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk or telephone 03459 335577, Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm).