Urgent action for poultry keepers in Aberdeenshire

Poultry keepers in Aberdeenshire are being urged to step up their efforts in the fight against bird flu, following a recent increase in cases in the area.

By Dawn Renton
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 4:16 pm
During the current outbreak, there have been three infected premises confirmed in Aberdeenshire.
During the current outbreak, there have been three infected premises confirmed in Aberdeenshire.

The Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer is reminding all poultry keepers that whilst the main source of infection comes from migratory wild birds, those failing to implement the appropriate measures risk infecting their own flocks by bringing the virus into their holdings.

Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer Jesus Gallego said: “The avian flu outbreak has not gone away and implementing robust biosecurity remains absolutely critical.

"You must continue to regularly cleanse and disinfect your footwear and clothes before entering enclosures, stop your birds mixing with any wild birds and only allow visitors that are strictly necessary. It is your actions that will help keep your birds safe.

“The Scottish Government, in collaboration with Defra, the Welsh Government and DAERA (NI), has taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease, including by introducing mandatory housing measures. However, we are still seeing bird flu both in domestic poultry and other captive birds, and in wild birds across Scotland.

“Many poultry keepers have excellent biosecurity standards, but the number of cases we are seeing suggests that not enough is being done by some bird keepers to keep bird flu out. Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you must take action now to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”

The risk to the general public’s health from avian influenza is very low.

However, the risk to people with intensive exposure to infected birds is considered to be low. Food Standards Scotland advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.

During the current outbreak, since the start of November 2021, there have been three infected premises confirmed with highly pathogenic avian influenza in Aberdeenshire, two in the last month.

Keepers should familiarise themselves with advice at www.gov.scot/publications/avian-influenza-bird-flu/