Restrictions reminder after bird flu found at Lincolnshire farm
Bird keepers in Scotland have been reminded to keep their poultry and captive birds indoors, after bird flu was found at a farm in Lincolnshire.
More than 5,000 turkeys at the farm in 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.
It said the zone would remain in force until 6 January.
It was introduced in response to multiple reports of the disease causing deaths among wild birds in mainland Europe.
'Importance of biosecurity'
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in England said most of the birds found to have avian flu at the farm in Louth had died and the remaining were due to be culled.
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."
Scotland's Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas 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."