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  1. ITV Report

Bird flu warning for poultry farmers

Keepers are asked to keep their birds indoors. Credit: PA

Poultry farmers are being warned to keep birds indoors as a precaution against a deadly bird flu strain in mainland Europe.

The Scottish Government has declared an avian influenza prevention zone requiring that all poultry and captive birds are kept separate from wild birds.

For England, government chief vet Nigel Gibbens has declared a "prevention zone", with requirements for commercial and individual poultry and captive bird keepers to keep their birds inside, or take steps to separate them from wild birds.

It comes amid reports of a highly pathogenic strain of H5N8 avian influenza causing high mortality in wild birds in mainland Europe, mostly affecting waterfowl.

There have been no cases of this strain detected in the UK.

Poultry farmers are asked to keep their birds indoors. Credit: PA

No cases have yet been identified in the UK and the prevention zone applies to all of Scotland and will remain in place for 30 days. Similar measures have also been declared in England.

In January, about 40,000 birds were culled at a farm near Dunfermline, Fife, after a case of H5N1 avian influenza was identified among chickens.

We have declared a 30-day prevention zone as a precautionary measure to protect Scotland's valuable poultry industry, particularly in the weeks before Christmas.

It is important to stress that there has been no cases of this strain detected in the UK.

The Scottish Government and its partners continue to monitor the situation in Europe closely and stand ready to respond to any suspicion of disease in Scotland. Any bird keepers who have concerns should immediately seek veterinary advice.

– Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing

Food and health experts said the current threat to the public is "very low" and there is no danger in consuming eggs or poultry.

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