A NUMBER of outbreaks of avian influenza have been confirmed by the Scottish Government this week.

In the past four weeks, there have been eight outbreaks in Scotland, seven of which have led to movement restrictions being put in place.

See also: Three expert speakers will cover the latest on avian influenza at Poultry.Network Live

Four of the eight were in pheasants in release pens, and there were also two smallholdings affected, a backyard flock and an animal rescue centre.

It comes as the Scottish Government published a new Scottish Wild Bird Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Response Plan that aims to tie up the monitoring and response to the spread of the virus.

In the year to 30 September 2022, surveillance data showed avian flu was present in 34 wild bird species in Scotland. 

In the spring and summer of 2022, a total of approximately 20,500 seabird deaths across 160 locations were reported to NatureScot.

Environment Minister Gillian Martin said: “The avian flu outbreak in wild bird populations across the globe is extremely sad and has been difficult for us all to witness.

“In most cases, there is no alternative but to let the disease run its course. However, the effectiveness of our multi-agency response in monitoring the spread of the virus can build our understanding of the outbreak and what mitigation measures might be helpful. The publication of this Plan is designed to support this.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Meanwhile, across the rest of the UK wild bird findings in the past four weeks are ahead of last year, suggesting that this Autumn could be challenging for poultry producers.

According to Defra, there were 101 wild bird detections of avian influenza in the weeks 28-32 in 2023 compared with 62 in the same weeks of 2022.