Suspected case of bird flu found at Fife farm

Risk to human health "very low" but precautionary measures in place

A SUSPECT case of avian influenza (H5) has been identified at a poultry farm in Dunfermline, causing the government to order a cull and quarantine of the farm.

Government vets have said the strain of bird flu identified is a "low pathogenic strain" and are conducting further tests. A 1km temporary control zone has been put in place around the farm.

Poultry farmers are being asked to remain "vigilant" to prevent any further outbreak.

Scotland's Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: "We have taken immediate action to contain this case as part of our robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu.

"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."

Experts have stressed that there is very litle risk to human health.

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."

Members of the public who suspect an animal is affected by avian flu should report these incidents to Defra's national helpline (Tel: 03459 335577, Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm).

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Picture courtesy of Nicholas Flook