Birds culled after flock tests positive for avian flu

The Scottish Government said a 10km control zone has been set up on the Orkney island of Sanday.

Birds culled after flock tests positive for avian flu Getty Images

A flock of birds from a farm on the Orkney island of Sanday has tested positive for H5N8 avian influenza.

The Scottish Government said the remaining birds were “humanely culled” and a 10km temporary control zone has been set up around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease.

Measures put in place include restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure, and restrictions on bird gatherings.

Thirty-nine birds in the flock died and the remaining 11 were put down.

Mairi Gougeon, minister for rural affairs and the natural environment, said it is “not unexpected” for avian influenza to be found in birds in Scotland.

She explained: “With the recent disease confirmations in wild and captive birds in the UK, it is not unexpected for avian influenza to be found in birds here in Scotland.

“We ask that the public remain vigilant and report any findings of dead wild birds.”

Bird keepers have been urged to comply with an order to house birds that came in to effect on Monday.

Scotland’s chief veterinary officer Sheila Voas added: “We have already made clear that all bird keepers – whether major businesses or small keepers with just a few birds – must ensure that their biosecurity is up to scratch to protect their birds from disease and prevent any contact between their birds and wild birds. 

“Keepers who are concerned about the health or welfare of their flock should seek veterinary advice immediately. Your private vet, or your local Animal and Plant Health Agency office, will also be able to provide practical advice on keeping your birds safe from infection.

“Any dead wild swans, geese, ducks or gulls, falcons or other birds of prey or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, should be reported to the Defra dead wild bird helpline.

“Public health advice is that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products including eggs.”

  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs dead wild bird helpline: 03459 33 55 77
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