Fourth outbreak of bird flu identified as wild eagle found dead

Scotland's chief vet urged the public to report discoveries of dead birds.

Fourth outbreak of bird flu identified as wild eagle found dead iStock

A fourth outbreak of bird flu has been detected just a day after Scotland’s chief vet issued a warning following a third cluster.

The premises in Dumfriesshire, near Moffat, it just north of two previous infected sites.

It follows the discovery of a White-tailed Eagle found dead on the Isle of Skye reportedlykilled by avian influenza.

A notice from Skye Birds said analysis by Scotland’s Rural College’s pathology unit confirmed the animal had bird flu in what is thought to be the first case involving the species in the country.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs warned the disease is “highly pathogenic”.

On Friday, Scotland’s chief vet urged the public to report findings of dead birds following the discovery of avian influenza H5N1 at the site near Annan, Dumfriesshire.

All carcases not seized or disposed of by a veterinary inspector at the infected premises must be disposed of in accordance with official instructions.

A 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone were declared, which took effect from 9.30pm on Friday.

This means movement restrictions within these zones – for example, poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure – to prevent any further spread of disease.

Friday’s discovery is not far from an infected site near Annan identified on Thursday.

The Annan site is just west of a previous outbreak reported last Saturday near Gretna.

Bird flu was found among a free range flock of hens with the remaining birds humanely culled.

On November 4, laboratory results confirmed an outbreak of bird flu in Angus.

Previously Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “We know that avian influenza is here in Scotland.

“In order to try to keep their birds safe and stop the spread of the disease, producers and bird keepers are reminded to comply with the order to house birds, which came in to effect on 29 November, or to ensure their birds are kept separate from wild birds.

“It’s important that the public remain vigilant and report any findings of dead wild birds to Defra’s national telephone helpline. Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that you find.”

Scotland’s chief veterinary officer Sheila Voas said: “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.”

Voas said any dead wild swans, geese, ducks or birds of prey, or five or more dead wild birds of other species (including gulls) in the same location at the same time, should be reported to Defra’s national telephone helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

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