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Avian Flu Update

On 22nd November 2022, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) announced that a second outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 was confirmed in a poultry flock (turkeys) in Co. Monaghan. This outbreak has occurred in an area very close to the first outbreak.

The current risk to the public from bird flu viruses is low; however, it is important to remember that risk depends on exposure, and people with more exposure might have a greater risk of infection.

Human infections with bird flu viruses are rare but can occur, usually after close contact with infected birds.

The disease poses no food safety risk for consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

To mitigate the risk of the spread of the disease, 3km protection, and 10km surveillance zones have been introduced around the outbreak. This places additional controls on the movement of poultry and poultry products within the zones. Movements into and out of the zones are also subject to licensing.

There remains a significant risk of further outbreaks and strict biosecurity is essential for all poultry and captive bird holdings.

All poultry and captive bird owners are reminded to review and, where necessary, improve biosecurity procedures on their premises to ensure that all appropriate measures are in place.

We do ask that all poultry owners and keepers must implement very high levels of biosecurity on their holdings to help protect their flocks due to the current situation.

All flock owners should ask themselves the following questions to help ensure you are implementing appropriate measures:

  • Only allow essential persons access to the poultry houses e.g. husbandry, veterinary care.
  • Ensure that dedicated clothing or disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn including disposable gloves and overalls.
  • All disinfectant points must be maintained. Read the label on the disinfectant which is approved for use against avian influenza. Disinfectant footbaths must be changed regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Inspect the housing thoroughly. Ensure that there are no gaps where wild birds can enter the housing. Check the gutters and roof. Can contaminated rainwater enter the house?
  • Feed and bedding attract wild birds so secure storage of both is essential. If using straw, ensure it is either double-wrapped and covered with a birdproof cover or stored in a shed with no wild bird access.
  • Disinfect wheels, wheel arches, and underbody of all vehicles coming before allowing them to enter the premises and prior to leaving the premises. Do not allow any drivers to enter poultry houses. Any equipment that is used to transport poultry or poultry products must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to being used on the farm
  • Check the feed and water intake and look for clinical signs of avian influenza. Report any suspicions immediately to DAFM and do not allow anyone on/off the premises pending investigation.

 

**Avian Influenza Update No. 18 of 2022 **

 

  • The protection zone (3km) introduced following the outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in two poultry flocks in Co. Monaghan has been lifted as of today
  • The surveillance (10km) zone around the outbreaks of HPAI remains in place. Licences are required for the movement of poultry/poultry products into and out of restricted zones
  • Avian Influenza (Precautionary confinement of birds) Regulations 2022 came into effect from 07 November 2022. Flock keepers are required to confine all poultry and captive birds in their possession or under their control in a secure building to which wild birds, or other animals do not have access. Housing is a support to biosecurity, not a substitute. Biosecurity remains the best form of defence against disease introduction to a premises
  • Avian Influenza (Biosecurity measures) Regulations 2022 came into effect from the 19 September 2022. All flock owners are legally required to maintain best practice biosecurity measures
  • All poultry and captive bird owners are reminded to review and, where necessary, improve their biosecurity procedures on their premises to ensure that all appropriate measures are in place 
     

The public is urged to be vigilant and not to touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds but to report sick or dead wild birds to DAFM at the details below. Dogs should be kept on a lead when walking in areas where any sick or dead wild birds are present.

DAFM disease hotline: 01 607 2512

Avian Influenza Hotline: 076 1064403
Out of hours: 1850 200456

 

Avian check app to report sick/dead wild birds: https://aviancheck.apps.rhos.agriculture.gov.ie/ 

Learn more on how to protect your flock: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/7e230-poultry/#biosecurity

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