Bird flu may be in Fife, Scotland

Jan 12, 2016

Officials say human risk is low

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, International Content

Chickens at a farm in Fife may have contracted a low pathogenic strain of avian influenza.

Initial tests show that the strain is H5N1 and further testing is ongoing.

As a result, all of the 40,000 birds that lived on Craiges Poultry Farm near Dunfermline will be culled on Wednesday, January 13 and a 1km control zone has been set up around the farm.

Scottish officials say they’ve taken swift action to keep the damage as minimal as possible.

“We have taken immediate action to contain this case as part of our robust procedures for dealing swiftly with avian flu,” said Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas in a press release.

Another outbreak of avian influenza could have a serious impact on the poultry industry in the United Kingdom.

Between November 2014 and August 2015 there were three outbreaks, which the British Poultry Council (BPC) estimate cost the industry nearly £50 million in total, or approximately $72 million in U.S. dollars.

According to the BPC, poultry represents nearly half of all meat eaten in the United Kingdom.

With more than 2,500 poultry farms across the UK, poultry farmers help produce nearly 875 million chickens, 17 million turkeys, 16 million ducks and 250,000 geese annually.

Poultry farmers are being encouraged to step up their security measures when it comes to avian flu.

Symptoms of bird flu in poultry can include ruffled feathers, a drop in egg production and a high mortality rate.

The United States knows all too well about what an outbreak of avian flu can do to the industry.

The spring and summer of 2015 outbreak was the country’s worst case of the disease. More than 40 million birds were destroyed and had a $390 million impact on the American poultry sector.

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