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Department Confirms Avian Influenza H5N6 in a Wild Bird in County Tipperary

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today announced that it has confirmed avian influenza subtype H5N6 in a wild bird in County Tipperary. The white-tailed sea eagle was found dead on 31 January.

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSE-HPSC) and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) advise that the risk to public health from H5N6 avian influenza is very low and that the disease poses no food safety risk for consumers.

The finding is not unexpected given the detection of highly pathogenic H5N6 in wild birds in multiple locations in Great Britain since the start of January and in other European countries prior to that. Further tests are being carried out to determine whether the virus is the same strain of H5N6. The results of these tests will become available in the next few days.

The finding indicates an increased risk of introduction of avian influenza into poultry and captive bird flocks, and that strict bio-security measures are necessary to prevent this. This applies to all flocks, irrespective of size. In particular flock owners should feed and water birds inside or under cover where wild birds cannot access the feed or water. Keep poultry separate from wild birds by putting suitable fencing around the outdoor areas they access.

Flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.

An early warning system is in place with Birdwatch Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Association of Regional Game Councils with regard to surveillance for signs of disease in wild birds.

The Department continues to closely monitor and assess the disease situation and maintains close contact with our counterparts in DAERA on the matter.

Further information:

  1. Further information on avian influenza can be found here:
  2. Clinical signs that poultry keepers should look for in their birds include a swollen head, discolouration of neck and throat, loss of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhoea and fewer eggs laid – although these vary between species of bird.
  3. If you suspect disease in your own flock, notify the nearest Department Veterinary Office or ring the Avian Influenza Helpline: 076 106 4403 (Outside of Office hours:   1850 200 456).
  4. If you find dead wild birds such as wild ducks, wild geese, swans, gulls or birds of prey, do not handle the birds. Report the findings to the Department as above.
  5. A list of Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine offices and their contact details is available at:




Date Released: 06 February 2018