Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Avian influenza – Lifting of Disease Control Zones around Infected Premises near Moffat, Annan and Gretna

Following the completion of preliminary cleansing and disinfection, and all mandatory surveillance requirements and investigations, Scottish Ministers have declared the lifting of the 10 km Surveillance Zones, which had been applied around highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 infected premises in three locations: near Moffat, near Annan and near Gretna, all in Dumfries and Galloway.

These zones were revoked on the following dates and times:

  • Outbreak near Moffat  10:45 am  14 January 2022
  • Outbreak near Annan 12 noon    16 January 2022
  • Outbreak near Gretna 11:00 am  18 January 2022

HPAI H5N1 had been confirmed at these locations by Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Sheila Voas, on 10 December, 09 December and 15 December respectively, and a 3 km Protection Zone and 10 km Surveillance Zone had been applied in each case.

With the Protection Zones being lifted by Ministers in these locations on 05 January,  07 December and 10 December respectively, the removal of the Surveillance Zones means that there are currently no specific restrictions remaining in these areas, with the exception of those affecting each infected premises.

Two of these Surveillance Zones, those associated with the outbreak in Annan and Gretna, included areas within England, so Defra have simultaneously lifted the associated Surveillance Zones implemented south of the border.

However, the UK-wide Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) remains in place, and 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 the AIPZ on 29 November 2021, and to follow strict 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.

Clinical signs indicative of avian influenza must be reported to your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Field OfficeFailure to do so is an offence.

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.

The advice from Public Health Scotland is that the risk to human health from the virus remains 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.

Outbreak Overview

The cases of HPAI H5N1 in poultry and captive birds across the UK for this outbreak season now total 81:

·         68 are in England

·         5 are in Scotland

·         5 are in Northern Ireland

·         3 are in Wales

This is the largest ever UK outbreak of avian influenza (prior to this, the largest number was 26 cases of HPAI in the UK in 2020/2021 and 13 cases in 2016/2017).

Compliance with the AIPZ Housing Measures

As previously stated, within the AIPZ it is a legal requirement to house your birds or otherwise keep them separate from wild birds.  Avian influenza controls, including the AIPZ, are enforced by Trading Standards or the Environmental Health Service of a Local Authority.

See the 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. However, keepers with less than 50 birds are strongly encouraged to register in order to receive valuable updates and advice.  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 on our avian influenza webpages.