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Stackyard News Oct 06

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Newcastle Disease Confirmed In East Lothian Farm

NFU Scotland has expressed concern at the confirmation of a highly virulent strain of Newcastle Disease at Fenton Barns, Drem, East Lothian. However, the Union is stressing that there is no current evidence that the disease has or will spread beyond this particular farm.


As a result of this outbreak, restrictions have been put in place and poultry on the infected premise will be culled in line with European requirements. A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone have been established. Within the 3km protection zone, housing of poultry is required and appropriate means of disinfection must be put in place at the entrances and exits to poultry premises. Information on suitable disinfectants is available from NFUS.

Throughout both areas, the movements of poultry, captive birds, racing pigeons and hatching eggs are restricted and may only be moved under licence. Bird shows and other gatherings are banned. Keepers of poultry in the areas are being contacted with information on disease and how to maximise biosecurity protection for their flock.

Newcastle Disease is a notifiable and highly contagious disease of poultry. It can have a severe impact on individual farms, although the disease does not have any significant human health implications.

Newcastle Disease outbreaks are relatively rare in the UK. The last outbreak occurred at a single unit in Surrey in 2005. Prior to that, the last outbreaks were in 1996/97 and 1984. The disease remains a problem world-wide, with serious recent outbreaks in Denmark in 2002 and California in 2003. Newcastle Disease is not linked to bird flu and is caused by a completely different virus.

As a result of this outbreak, there could be implications for exports of live birds and poultry products from the UK.

NFUS Deputy Chief Executive James Withers said:

"We have been liaising closely with the Executive and speaking to the individual farmer concerned and those in the area. Clearly any Newcastle Disease outbreak is worrying. It is thankfully rare in the UK but it can have a devastating impact on individual farms.

"Obviously, the hope is that this follows a similar pattern to the outbreak in Surrey last year which was contained within one unit.

"It remains to be seen what the exact implications are for our export status. That should become clearer in the coming days."

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