Date lodged: 6 December 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking in response to the highly-pathogenic strain of avian influenza that is affecting wild birds and poultry in Europe.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 7 December 2016
Scottish Ministers declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone on 6 December 2016 to help prevent potential infection from wild birds into captive birds and poultry. This precautionary step has been taken in response to multiple reports of a strain of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 causing high mortality in wild birds and poultry in mainland Europe, mostly affecting waterfowl. There have been no cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 detected in the UK since November 2014. The zone covers all of Scotland and will be kept under review. The zone will remain in place initially for 30 days. Poultry and captive bird keepers are now required to keep their birds indoors or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds. Bird keepers must also apply heightened biosecurity measures where practical.
The Highly pathogenic H5N8 is a strain of avian influenza that can cause severe disease in poultry. The risk to public health is very low.