Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Prevention Zone Declared in Response to Spread of H5N8 in Europe
Update - 15th November 2017
Amended bird gatherings general licence
Information and updates on Avian flu November 2017
Blog – This migration season, will we see avian flu return?
A new entry on the Scotland’s Environment Blog has gone live with two experts from Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies discussing avian influenza, the risk and how important biosecurity is for all bird keepers. This is in response to the recent change in assessed risk of AI for wild birds, which is now at “medium”, but remains “low” for kept poultry.
New interactive guidance for small flock keepers
We have also recently produced a new downloadable and interactive guidance document for bird keepers with smaller flocks, called ‘Protecting Poultry Health and Preventing Disease’ which we have highlighted within the blog and promoted across social media.
Scotland’s Poultry Hub
Over the last few months, I have also been working on a new information resource called Scotland’s Poultry Hub – a webpage for all poultry keepers which signposts all of the best and most helpful information about keeping poultry healthy. This was developed in conjunction with Scotland's Rural College, Animal and Plant Health Agency, The James Hutton Institute and EPIC - The Scottish Government's Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks.
Gamebird keepers who wish to maintain good biosecurity for their flocks should read the updated advice published on the Game Farmers Association website. This document was contributed to by seven leading countryside and shooting organisations (BASC, CA, CLA, GFA, GWCT, NGO and SGA) and is endorsed by Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Defra and DAERA.
Further information can be found at www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza
Anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must report it to their local Animal Health & Welfare Officer on 01546 605519 or send an e-mail to Animal.Health@argyll-bute.gov.uk
UPDATE - 10th May 2017
Amended bird gatherings general licence
As announced last week SG intends to allow gatherings of poultry, waterfowl and game birds in Scotland from 15 May. The amended general licence is attached, and is now available online. The licence permits shows from 15 May, provided that the Animal Plant & Health Agency (APHA) have been notified 7 days in advance – for shows taking place on 15 May this means that APHA must be notified on Monday 8 May at the latest.
The updated general licence includes some new requirements for organisers of a gathering, including:
Poultry, waterfowl and game birds cannot be brought to gatherings from outside Scotland
- Any poultry attending a gathering must be inspected by a poultry expert designated by the event organiser (eg a competition judge or experienced keeper) before they are allowed on site
- The organiser must have a detailed contingency plan for dealing with a notifiable avian disease outbreak at the event, including isolating affected birds on the premises until a veterinary inspector had provided further instructions
The full list of requirements can be found on the licence. Further information can be found at www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza.
A driver behind these amendments is the recent identification of Avian Influenza in two backyard flocks in Lancashire. At present, it is believed that these outbreaks are contained, but any wider spread throughout the UK might require the Scottish Government to review the licensing conditions.
Anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must report it to their local Animal Health & Welfare Officer on 01546 605519 or send an e-mail to Animalhealth@argyll-bute.gov.uk
UPDATE - 28th April 2017 - Prevention zone to be lifted.
The avian influenza prevention zone covering Scotland will be lifted on 30 April, the Scottish Government has confirmed.
The zone required bird keepers in all areas of Scotland to put in place enhanced biosecurity measures prior to letting their birds outside, in order to reduce the risk of disease.
The ban on shows and gatherings of poultry, waterfowl and game birds will remain in force until 15 May, when a new general licence will come into force. Read the full press release here.
- 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.
- The H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza has been circulating in Europe since October 2016. Ten cases in captive birds have been confirmed in UK (none of which were in Scotland).
- The latest risk assessment for an incursion of HPAI H5N8 in domestic and captive birds in Scotland, has concluded that the risk is LOW, a reduction from the previous risk level which was assessed as MEDIUM.
- Wild Bird Surveillance figures show that since 1 December 2016, only one case of HPAI H5N8 has been identified in Scotland (a wild peregrine falcon found on 9 December).
- From 15 May, all poultry shows and bird gatherings will be permitted, subject to prior notification to Animal and Plant Health Agency and the conditions of the general licence.
- More information about Avian Influenza, the Prevention Zone and bird gatherings - including biosecurity guidance - is available from the Scottish Government website
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 www.defra.gov.uk/ahvla-en/about-us/contact-us/field-services/
Avian Influenza is an animal health disease affecting poultry and the risk arises from farmed or domestic poultry coming into contact with wild birds and the action was not taken as a public health measure. The advice from Food Standards Scotland is that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.