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Department urges all poultry owners including backyard flock owners to be vigilant of Avian Influenza (AI)

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine would like to remind people of the risk that Avian Influenza (AI) poses to the poultry sector in Ireland. The current investigation into the suspected presence of a notifiable avian disease in a broiler breeder flock in County Fermanagh, serves to highlight once again to poultry keepers the measures they should take to reduce the risk of introducing disease into their flock.

As we are currently in the high-risk period for avian influenza, the Department urges all poultry owners including backyard flock owners to be vigilant and to implement strict biosecurity on their premises, particularly in relation to minimising contact with wild birds. It is critically important to ensure that wild birds do not have access to feeding areas and feed stores. 

Flock-owners should also regularly monitor their birds for signs of disease. If they suspect any signs of the disease in their flocks, they must report it immediately to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Anyone who keeps poultry, even only one or two birds, in Ireland must register their premises with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Further information:  

DAFM has a wide variety of biosecurity resources for avian influenza- please see:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/avian_influenza/biosecurityadvice/

To register a poultry flock please see: 

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/avian_influenza/poultryregistration/

RVO contact details 

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/contact/

List of target species of wild birds for AI surveillance

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/animalhealthwelfare/diseasecontrols/avia ninfluenzabirdflu/informationonwildbirds/ListOfWildBirdSpeciesForTargetedAIsurveillance1 70118.pdf  

European Commission

https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/animal-diseases/control-measures/avian-influenza_en  

 

Notes to editors:             

What is avian influenza?

Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease affecting food producing birds, pet birds and wild birds. The virus has also been found in pigs, cats and dogs. It is caused by a Type A influenza virus. There are two types of avian influenza virus. These are called low pathogenic (LPAI) and highly pathogenic (HPAI), depending on the severity of the disease that they cause in birds.

 

What is the risk to the public?

Avian influenza viruses can occasionally affect humans - usually after close contact with infected poultry. 

 

Where is the disease found?

Avian influenza occurs worldwide and different strains are more prevalent in certain areas.

 

How is the disease transmitted and spread?

Wild birds are considered the main source of introduction of disease into poultry, shedding virus in respiratory secretions and faeces. Subsequent contamination of water, feed and equipment allows entry of the virus into poultry flocks. Once the disease is in poultry, it may be spread between flocks via the movement of people, vehicles and equipment.

From October onwards represents the high-risk period for avian influenza in Ireland because migratory wild birds, the natural hosts of many avian influenza viruses, start to arrive in large numbers to overwinter.

In Ireland, these birds congregate on many wetland areas where they mix with resident wild bird species with the potential for both transmission of disease to resident birds and contamination of the environment.  In addition, the colder weather and decreasing daylight hours from this point onwards means that the influenza virus can potentially survive for extended periods of time in the environment also

 

ENDS

Date Released: 08 January 2020