Following a number of detections of avian influenza (bird flu) in wild birds, the Chief Veterinary Officers from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the whole of Great Britain, in order to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds. In Scotland, a flock of kept birds in the Angus constituency have tested positive for avian influenza (H5N1).
From 3 November 2021, it has been a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Great Britain to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks. Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures, and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry, including chickens, ducks and geese, must also take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals.
The Scottish Government has advised that the risk to public health from the virus is very low, and the UK food standards agencies inform that avian influenzas poses a very low food safety risk to UK consumers, as it does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.
Sources: Scottish Government, 3 November 2021 and Scottish Government, 3 November 2021