Easter Ross Bird Flu Surveillance Zone established as infected premises reported by Scottish Government - TittlePress (2023)

Easter Ross Bird Flu Surveillance Zone established as infected premises reported by Scottish Government - TittlePress (1)

A BIRD flu surveillance area has been established in Easter Ross after confirmation of what the Scottish government has described as ‘highly pathogenic bird flu’.

The infected premises were located at 7 Pitcalnie Holdings, Nigg, Tain, IV19 1QP.

The surveillance zone is delimited by a circle with a radius of three kilometers centered on the NH 80511 72151 grid.

The statement of infected premises and surveillance area, published over the weekend, read: “The Chief Veterinarian (Scotland) has issued the opinion that highly pathogenic avian influenza exists, or has existed for the past 56 days prior, at the premises and informed the Scottish Ministers of this finding.”

The declaration has effect until modified or revoked by a new declaration.

Some strains of bird flu can be transmitted to humans, but this is very rare. This usually requires very close contact between humans and infected birds.

More information about this can be found here.

Related: Bird flu alert for visitors to the woods

The measures now applicable in the surveillance zone include:

The occupant of any premises must record –

(a) the name and address of any person visiting the premises (unless the visit is to only part of the premises where people live and where no poultry or other captive birds are kept);

(b) the date of the visit;

(c) whether the person has had contact with poultry or other captive birds on the premises.

The occupant of these premises must keep a register of all poultry entering or leaving these premises.

Any person who engages in the transportation or marketing of poultry or poultry eggs must keep a record of all poultry and poultry eggs transported or marketed by that person.

The occupant of any premises located in the surveillance zone must keep the following records:

a) the number or approximate number of poultry (if any) on the premises;

b) the number of poultry that have fallen ill on the holding;

c) the number of dead poultry on the premises;

(d) the amount of feed and, if possible, water consumed by any poultry on the premises;

(e) any egg production on the premises.

In terms of biosecurity measures, the occupant and anyone entering or leaving premises where poultry, other captive birds or eggs are kept must:

(a) take appropriate biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of spreading avian influenza to or from the premises; and

(b) comply with any biosecurity requirement that a veterinary inspector imposes, by notice.

You will find more details about the declaration, the requirements and the monitoring area here.

Background

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 has been confirmed in Scotland and other parts of the UK. Restrictions and prevention measures are in place.

A Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was declared across the UK from midday on October 17, 2022.

This means strict biosecurity measures for all bird keepers (including those who keep pet birds) to help prevent the spread of bird flu from wild birds or any other source. All gatherings of poultry are prohibited.

AIPZ does not currently include a requirement to house birds in Scotland. However, this is under constant review. You should always check as different provisions may apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The grace period for free-range egg production only applies where a restriction of access to free-range runs is necessary, i.e. under a housing order. If a producer chooses to house voluntarily, the eggs do not meet the free-range requirements and the packages must be marked “free-range eggs”.

Cases and disease control areas

Check where disease control areas are currently located and if you are in an Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) area interactive map.

Avian flu – how to spot and report the disease

The Scottish Government’s Agriculture and Rural Economy Branch has issued the following advice:

Avian flu is a reportable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu in poultry or captive birds, you should report it immediately by contacting your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Field Service Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

Clinical signs

Avian influenza viruses can be categorized based on their ability to cause severe disease (pathogenicity) as highly pathogenic or low pathogenic viruses. Viruses are described by their main antigenic determinants, H (for hemagglutinin) and N (neuraminidase). The strain of current concern is a highly pathogenic H5N1.

In birds, we are mainly interested in the H5 and H7 subtypes. LPAI virus subtypes H5 and H7 are known to mutate into a highly pathogenic form that causes severe illness and death in birds, although in waterfowl the illness may not be apparent.

Signs of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI)

In general, LPAI infection is often difficult to detect, with very few or no clinical signs.

An infected flock may show signs of respiratory distress, diarrhoea, loss of appetite or a drop in egg production of more than 5%.

If you suspect your flock has any form of avian influenza, you should contact your local animal health office immediately.

Signs of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)

Typically, this form of the disease presents suddenly, often with very high mortality, with swollen heads, blue discoloration of the comb and wattles, dullness, lack of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhea and significant drop in egg production.

However, there can be considerable variation in the clinical picture and the severity of the disease. If you suspect your flock has any form of avian influenza, you should contact your local animal health office immediately.

If you suspect any signs of notifiable diseases, you should immediately notify your Scotland: local Field Service office at Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Failure to do so is an offence. Sign up for the APHA Alert Service to keep up to date with the latest news.

Impacts on human health

Some strains of bird flu can be transmitted to humans, but this is very rare. This usually requires very close contact between humans and infected birds. Learn more about: bird flu and human health.

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