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Bird flu detected at Scottish farm

Infectious disease experts say the risk to human health is ‘very low’

Mark Gould

Monday, 11 January 2016

Infectious disease experts have discovered a suspected case of bird flu at a poultry farm in Scotland. Chickens on the site will be culled and a 1km control zone has been set up around the premises in Dunfermline. But experts say that initial tests reveal that it is a "low pathogenic strain" and that the risk to human health was thought to be "very low".

Within the control zone restrictions have been placed on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure.

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.

"Evidence suggests this is a low severity form of the virus 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."

The Scottish government's Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, said: "Livestock owners and the general public should be assured that we are doing everything we can to control and prevent the spread of the disease.

"Any poultry producers who are concerned should immediately seek veterinary advice."

Dr Jim McMenamin, consultant epidemiologist and respiratory infection lead for Health Protection Scotland, said: "Based on what we know about this strain of avian influenza and the actions that have been taken, the risk to human health in this case is considered very low.

"Health Protection Scotland continues to work closely with Animal Health throughout this investigation"

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