Warning after bird flu found on Lincolnshire farm

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Bird keepers in Scotland have been reminded to keep their poultry and captive birds indoors after bird flu was confirmed at a farm in Lincolnshire.

More than 5,000 turkeys at the farm near Louth have been diagnosed with the H5N8 strain of avian flu.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone and put restrictions in place which will remain in force until January 6.

It was introduced in response to reports of the disease causing deaths among wild birds in Europe.

The Scottish government has urged Scottish keepers to be aware of the need for “excellent biosecurity”.

The restrictions in place mean that all bird keepers should keep their birds housed if possible or otherwise take steps to ensure they are separated from wild birds.

Fergus Ewing, Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary, for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, said: “I am aware of the case of Avian Influenza in Lincolnshire and we are working with Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to determine the cause and possible spread of the disease.

“The arrival of H5N8 in the UK highlights how essential it is that bird keepers comply with the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, as well as maintaining excellent biosecurity on their premises.

“The Scottish government declared this zone as a precaution against disease, although we knew that there was always a risk of the virus arriving in the UK with migratory wild birds.”

Sheila Voas, Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer, added: “The fact that H5N8 has been detected in housed turkeys highlights the importance of biosecurity. We know that H5N8 is circulating in wild birds, and simply moving your birds indoors may not be enough to protect them if your biosecurity is not sufficient.

“Businesses should also review their contingency plans in case of an outbreak.”

Dr Jim McMenamin of Health Protection Scotland said: “Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has advised that the threat to public health from this strain of avian influenza H5N8 is very low.”