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20th Nov 2021

Avian flu outbreak detected in turkey flock in Monaghan

Dave Hanratty

Avian flu Ireland November 2021

Members of the public are advised not to handle sick or dead wild birds.

Avian flu has been detected amongst a flock of turkey in Monaghan, according to a statement issued by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Saturday evening (20 November).

Test results have identified evidence of Avian Influenza H5N1 and restriction zones have subsequently been established around the area.

Additional movement control and surveillance measures will be put in place.

The highly pathogenic flu had previously been confirmed in wild birds in a number of Irish counties in recent weeks.

Outbreaks of the virus have also been identified in poultry flocks in Italy, Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Estonia, Czechia, Norway, Bulgaria, Belgium and the United Kingdom since early October.

“It is important to note that there is no evidence of risk associated with consumption of poultry meat or poultry meat products,” notes a Department of Agriculture statement.

“The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the H5N1 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported in Europe and therefore risk to humans is considered to be very low.

“Notwithstanding, members of the public are, as always, advised not to handle sick or dead wild birds and to report sick of dead wild birds to the Regional Veterinary Office or contact the Department’s disease hotline on 01 492 8026.”

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.

Poultry flock owners are asked to “remain vigilant” for any signs of disease in their flocks, maintain strict biosecurity measures and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Regional Veterinary Office.

“The Department reinforces the need for vigilance and biosecurity and advises strict adherence to the precautionary measures against avian influenza recently introduced in regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013,” the statement continues.

“These regulations require specific biosecurity measures to be implemented by the keepers of all poultry (and other captive bird) flocks, irrespective of size, to help mitigate the risk of the virus and additional enhanced biosecurity measures that must be implemented in flocks of 500 birds or more.”

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