Scottish bird flu case prompts biosecurity warning

NFU Scotland has urged poultry farmers to be vigilant with biosecurity after a case of avian influenza was confirmed last week.

The union said the case, in a free-range laying flock, has been dealt with and all restrictions on the farm have been lifted.

It added that the mild strain of non-notifiable avian influenza should cause “no alarm” to egg producers or consumers.

See also: Avian influenza: One farm’s robust plans to combat the threat 

A spokesperson for NFU Scotland said: “It is a pertinent time to remind all poultry keepers to adhere to the strict biosecurity requirements set out by the Scottish Government to ensure Scottish eggs are of the highest quality, health and safety standards.

“All the possible steps must be taken to ensure that poultry, and other captive birds, are protected against contact with wild birds.

“It is important to avoid the transfer of contamination into and between premises and to minimise the movement of people, vehicles and equipment to areas where captive birds are kept.

“Before allowing poultry or other captive birds to use a range after a period of housing, the range must be checked and any obvious contamination from wild birds [such as faeces or feathers] must be removed.”

The union also urged farmers to regularly check the health status of birds and report any signs of disease to a vet. All practical biosecurity steps should be taken to prevent infection and wild birds should be discouraged from using range areas.

Last month, a case of non-notifiable avian influenza was confirmed on a broiler breeder farm in Northern Ireland.