Call for keepers to be vigilant as avian flu confirmed in Fife
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.
Anyone keeping poultry is asked to be vigilant.