Call for keep­ers to be vig­i­lant as avian flu con­firmed in Fife

The Oban Times - - Farming -

POUL­TRY keep­ers in Ar­gyll are urged to be vig­i­lant fol­low­ing a con­firmed out­break of low path­o­genic avian in­fluenza at a Fife poul­try unit.

In the wake of sim­i­lar out­breaks in Europe and the UK in re­cent times, Scot­tish poul­try keep­ers will be well aware of the biose­cu­rity mea­sures they need to main­tain and for greater dis­ease vig­i­lance to be put in place.

Scot­land’s Chief Ve­teri­nary Of­fi­cer, Sheila Voas said: ‘We have taken im­me­di­ate ac­tion to con­tain this case as part of our ro­bust pro­ce­dures for deal­ing swiftly with avian flu.

‘This is a low sever­ity form of the virus [H5N], 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.’

NFU Scot­land’s vice pres­i­dent, An­drew McCor­nick, said: ‘Given the num­ber of cases of low path­o­genic avian in­fluenza seen across Europe and in the UK, of­ten linked to mi­gra­tory birds and wild­fowl, this is a wor­ry­ing but not un­ex­pected out­break.

‘It is wel­come that, at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity, ex­perts have re­minded the pub­lic that the im­pli­ca­tions for hu­man health and food safety are very low. This is an an­i­mal health mat­ter and one that all stake­hold­ers are tak­ing very se­ri­ously.

‘With the in­dus­try’s well-re­hearsed con­tin­gency plans now com­ing into force, the hope is that this out­break is quickly con­tained and the threat to other com­mer­cial poul­try flocks is elim­i­nated.

‘Biose­cu­rity on all poul­try units must be main­tained and, given the num­ber of low path­o­genic avian in­fluenza cases be­ing recorded across Europe, it is likely that those high stan­dards are al­ready com­mon­place. High health is some­thing that Scot­tish poul­try pro­duc­ers have al­ways taken great pride in.

‘How­ever, it is worth re­mind­ing all poul­try keep­ers - large and small - of the need for vig­i­lance. Given the grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple keep­ing back­yard hens, it is worth re­stat­ing that Avian In­fluenza is a no­ti­fi­able dis­ease and that all poul­try keep­ers have an obli­ga­tion to no­tify the au­thor­i­ties if they sus­pect dis­ease.

‘Back­yard hens can of­ten be at higher risk be­cause of their closer con­tact with wild birds.’

Scot­tish Govern­ment ad­vice is that the risk to hu­man health is con­sid­ered very low, and Food Stan­dards Scot­land has said there is no food safety risk for con­sumers.

Visit www.scot­land.gov.uk/avian­in­fluenza For more in­for­ma­tion on the dis­ease and biose­cu­rity ar­range­ments.

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Any­one keep­ing poul­try is asked to be vig­i­lant.

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