Scottish government urges poultry farmers to strengthen farm biosecurity

The Poultry Site, an international industry resource, reports that the Scottish government has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza caused by the highly pathogenic subtype of the H5N1 virus. The bird mortality was registered in the Levan region of the eastern Fife district – on a farm where about 14 thousand pheasants and other game species were raised and subsequently released into the wild. All livestock in the epizootic focus were killed in a humane way. In a protection zone with a radius of three kilometers and a surveillance zone in a 10-kilometer radius around the contaminated site, preventive measures are being taken. There are bans on the movement of eggs, live individuals and poultry meat, the removal of used bedding and droppings from poultry farms. The health service estimates the risk of human exposure to avian influenza A (H5N1) as very low. The outbreak in Levan was the second in the past few months. The previous outbreak of avian influenza, where a virus of another subtype (H5N8) was detected, arose in mid-December 2020 on the island of Sunday in the Orkney archipelago (northeast of Scotland). Scotland’s chief veterinarian, Sheila Voas, has called on farmers, poultry owners and poultry breeders to strengthen biosecurity, noting its vital importance in the current situation. At the slightest sign of a threat to livestock, you should immediately contact the veterinarian, she reminded, and all the necessary practical can be obtained from the offices of the Agency for the Protection of Animal and Plant Health. Scottish poultry farmers are required to follow the rules set out in the order, which entered into force on December 14, 2020: to prevent poultry from contacting wild fauna and to ensure the high biosecurity of farms. Scotland’s Environment and Rural Development Minister Ben Macpherson said the poultry regulation is in line with all UK and EU regulations when an epidemic is threatened. Scots are asked to be vigilant and urgently inform the veterinary service when carcasses of dead birds are found, in no case touching them.