A second suspect case of notifiable avian influenza has been identified in a small mixed species, backyard flock in Broughshane and disease control measures have been put in place.
Northern Ireland’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Robert Huey said: “Due to the clinical signs and preliminary results provided by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) disease control measures have been put in place in Broughshane, including the humane culling of the affected birds (approx. 30) and the introduction of Temporary Control Zones (TCZ) to mitigate for onward disease spread.
“Whilst the first suspected case is in a large commercial site, this one has affected a hobby flock keeper, with some of the birds considered family pets – that indicates just how vulnerable our flocks are to incursion, no matter their size. There is no doubt this is an extremely difficult and upsetting experience for both flock keepers, and we do not want this to affect anyone else or to have to cull any more birds.
“I am urging commercial keepers of large flocks, as well as those with even just one pet bird, to strictly adhere to the biosecurity measures in place. The measures are there to first and foremost protect your flocks, but also to protect your business and to protect you from the devastation of having your flock culled.”
Dr Huey continued: “Samples have been sent to the National Reference Laboratory to confirm pathogenicity of the strain detected. Should highly pathogenic AI be confirmed, these TCZs will be revoked and a 3 kilometre Protection Zone and 10 kilometre Surveillance Zone established."
Full details of the scope and measures required within the TCZ have been published on the DAERA website.
Members of the public are encouraged to report dead waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the DAERA helpline on 0300 200 7840.
Notes to editors:
- Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease. Anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by a notifiable disease must, by law, report it to their local DAERA Direct Office.
- The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low. The Food Standards Agency has also advised, in avian influenza incursions of this type, that there is a very low risk to public health from the consumption of properly cooked poultry meat or eggs provided appropriate hygiene measures are followed.
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