Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Sheila Voas, has confirmed that birds on a small commercial premises of mixed poultry and captive birds, near Annan, Dumfriesshire, Dumfries and Galloway have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1.
In order to limit the further spread of disease, appropriate restrictions have been imposed, and a 3 km Protection Zone and 10 km Surveillance Zone have been declared, which took effect at 21:30pm 09 December. Within these zones, a range of different controls and restrictions are implemented. These include restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure.
Keepers can find out if their premises is in a zone on this interactive map.
A number of birds on the premises have already succumbed to disease and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will carry out humane culling of the remaining birds for disease control and animal welfare purposes.
The confirmation of this case of HPAI H5N1 is the third in Scotland in the current 2021/22 AI season, with HPAI H5N1 being confirmed at premises near Arbroath, Angus, on 03 November 2021 and near Gretna, Dumfries and Galloway on 03 December 2021. These cases are part of a wider outbreak that has involved cases of HPAI H5N1 across Great Britain:
This is now the largest ever UK outbreak of avian influenza with 42 confirmed cases (prior to this, the largest number was 26 cases of HPAI in the UK in 2020/2021 and 13 cases in 2016/2017).
In light of these outbreaks and high numbers of findings among wild bird populations in the UK, the risk of incursion of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 infection in wild birds is at VERY HIGH (occurs often). The risk of poultry and captive bird exposure to HPAI H5 across Great Britain is at HIGH where biosecurity is sub-optimal, and is at MEDIUM where stringent biosecurity measures are applied.
Advice to Keepers
The further detection of HPAI H5N1 in Scotland, and the cases highlighted above, do not alter the advice from Public Health Scotland 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. It does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.
Producers and bird keepers are reminded that they are legally required to comply with the Order to house birds that came in to effect, as part of an Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ), on 29 November 2021, and to follow biosecurity procedures, regardless of the number of birds being kept. Keepers who are concerned about the health or welfare of their flock should seek veterinary advice immediately.
High standards of biosecurity must be maintained as good practice for the health of your birds, and good biosecurity is an essential defence against diseases, such as avian influenza, and is key to limiting the spread of avian influenza in an outbreak.
Compliance with AIPZ Housing Measures
As previously stated, within the AIPZ is it a legal requirement to house your birds or otherwise keep them separate from wild birds. Avian influenza controls, including the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ), are enforced by Trading Standards or the Environmental Health Service of a Local Authority.
See our postcode tool available on gov.scot to find details of how to contact your Local Authority with any reports of non-compliance.
GB Poultry Register
In GB, you are legally required to register your birds if you keep more than 50 birds. Keepers with less than 50 birds are strongly encouraged to register. It is also a legal requirement to notify APHA of any significant changes in the average number of birds kept.
Further advice for keepers can be found at avian influenza advice.