Chickens Culled At Bird Flu Farm

13 January 2016, 08:45 | Updated: 13 January 2016, 14:40

A cull of thousands of birds is taking place at a poultry farm in Fife where a "mild strain'' of bird flu has been found.

A one-kilometre protection zone remains in place around Craigies Poultry Farm near Dunfermline, where a case of H5N1 avian influenza was identified among chickens on Monday.

Scotland's chief veterinary officer Sheila Voas described it as a "very mild strain'', said to be less serious than other forms of the virus that have caused concern in recent years.

The risk to human health is considered "very low'', according to Health Protection Scotland.

Poultry producers have been urged to be vigilant.

Restrictions have been imposed in the Fife control zone, including on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure and restrictions on bird gatherings.

The discovery comes after a number of cases of avian influenza across Europe in recent months. Three cases were found in the UK last year.

Ms Voas said: "All the evidence so far suggests we are dealing with a very mild form of H5N1 avian influenza, which is not the same as the strain that has been causing problems in Asia and north Africa.

"Further tests are currently being carried out to confirm this but in the meantime we are taking no chances.

"As a precaution to prevent the spread of disease - and in line with our robust procedures for dealing with avian flu - we have already put in place movement restrictions around the farm and all birds on the premises will be humanely culled.

"Consumers should not be concerned about eating eggs or poultry given the expert advice about food safety and human health.

"We are looking into possible sources of this infection in Scotland but it is normal for such viruses to circulate among wild bird populations, especially waterfowl.''