Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in Scotland – extended until 28 Feb 2017

DEFRA and the Scottish Government announced on 4th January 2017 that the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone initially mark-mitchellintroduced on the 6 December 2016 has been extended until 28 February 2017.

There is a GB-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings, and the Prevention Zone applies to all poultry and captive birds in Scotland, requiring poultry keepers to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate practical steps to keep them separate from wild birds. All bird keepers must also take extra steps to ensure good biosecurity on their premises and minimise the risk of infection and further spread of Avian Influenza, such as:

·         making sure that birds’ feed and water can’t be accessed by wild birds

·         avoiding transfer of contamination between premises by cleansing and disinfecting equipment, vehicles and footwear

·         reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept

·         implementing effective vermin control around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept

·         providing wash facilities or dips containing approved disinfectant (at the right concentration) at key points such as farm entrances and entrances to bird houses

Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease. If you suspect an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease report it to your local Animal Plant and Health Agency office. Contact details can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/ahvla-en/about-us/contact-us/field-services/ and further information such as biosecurity guidance is available from the Scottish Government website www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza

The H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza has been circulating in Europe for several weeks.  The disease has also been found in wild birds in Wales, England and Scotland. and within the domestic flock confirmed  in Lincolnshire on 16 December 2016, and Carmarthenshire on 3 January 2017. The last Scottish Avian Influenza outbreak in captive birds was Low Pathogenic H5N1 in Dunfermline, January 2016. 

Under the Prevention Zone, birds and eggs are still considered free range provided they meet all other requirements. Declaring a Prevention Zone means birds can be housed for up to 12 weeks and still maintain their free range status. The 12 week limit applies to individual birds or batches, not premises as a whole.

Members of the public are asked to report these incidents to Defra’s national helpline (email defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk or telephone 03459 335577, Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm). DEFRA/SG have issued a  news release and provided information for poultry keepers on their Frequently Asked Questions page. If poultry owners have specific questions about complying with the requirements of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, they should speak with their private vets or their local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office.

Published on 6th January 2017