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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Poultry cull in disease outbreak
Newcastle disease is a viral condition that can affect poultry
More than 17,000 birds have been culled following an outbreak of a deadly poultry disease in East Lothian.

The Scottish Executive said tests confirmed Newcastle disease had been found in a flock of grey partridges at a holding in Fenton Barns in Drem.

Newcastle disease can be highly contagious among poultry but is not dangerous to humans.

Tough restrictions on the movement of all poultry and captive birds have been put in place.

A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone was created.

Source the outbreak

Officials are attempting to pinpoint the source of the outbreak and establish what risk it may pose to other poultry.

All the fowl kept on the premises were culled over the weekend in line with EU requirements.

Poultry should be kept indoors within the smaller zone and disinfection should be put in place at the entrances and exits to poultry premises, said officials.

Within the wider zone, movements of poultry, captive birds, racing pigeons and hatching eggs are restricted and they may only be moved under licence.

Bird shows and other gatherings are banned. Restrictions will remain in place for a minimum of 21 days in the protection zone and 30 days in the surveillance zone, the executive said.

Samples confirmed

Newcastle disease was confirmed after samples from the site were sent for analysis to an EU laboratory at Weybridge, Surrey.

In April this year, the potentially fatal H5N1 strain of bird flu was confirmed in a dead swan found in Fife.

It led to a wild bird risk area covering 1,000 square miles being set up in eastern Scotland around the discovery site at Cellardyke.

The wild bird risk area was lifted on 1 May.

The last known outbreak of Newcastle disease in the UK was in July 2005, when a large flock of pheasants was culled near Surrey.

The potentially fatal disease's symptoms in birds include sneezing, gasping for air, nasal discharge, coughing and a greenish, watery diarrhoea.

There is no danger to humans eating meat from a chicken affected by the disease.

Newcastle disease probe launched
12 Oct 06 |  Edinburgh and East

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