Suspected bird flu found at Fife chicken farm

A suspected case of avian influenza has been identified in chickens on a farm in Dunfermline, Fife, the Scottish Government said.

The chickens will be humanely culled and a 1 km Temporary Control Zone put in place around the farm.

Initial tests have indicated the presence of a notifiable strain of Avian Influenza (H5) and “the clinical picture suggests that this is a low pathogenic strain” and further testing is underway to confirm the strain, the government said.

Other recent cases of avian influenza have been found across continental Europe in recent months as well as three cases in other parts of the UK.

“We have taken immediate action to contain this case as part of our robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu,” said Scotland’s chief veterinary officer Sheila Voas.

“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.”

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs 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.”

Rita Botto, Head Veterinarian of Food Standard Scotland, said: “On the basis of current scientific evidence, Food Standards Scotland’s advice is that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.”