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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Third case of avian influenza detected

The Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM) has confirmed a third outbreak of Avian Influenza H5N1.

It has detected this is an egg-laying flock, a commercial poultry enterprise, in the Castleblaney area of Co. Monaghan.

The department has expanded its protection and surveillance zones around the three flocks further to mitigate the risk of spreading the disease.

This places additional controls on the movement of poultry and poultry products within the zones.

Furthermore, movements into and out of the zones are also subject to licensing. Also, additional surveillance measures apply within the restricted zones.

The restriction zone around the most recent outbreak extends into Northern Ireland (NI).

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Avian Influenza outbreak

In a statement, the DAFM said it is working “closely” with NI colleagues on disease control and risk mitigation measures.

“The authorities in NI will manage movement controls and additional surveillance measures within their jurisdiction in a similar way to DAFM.”

“The spread of disease outside the previous restriction zones highlights the high risk of incursion of avian influenza into poultry flocks.”

The DAFM views stringent biosecurity, including housing or confinement of birds, as “vital” to mitigate the risk and protect poultry flocks across the island/country.

Since mid-October, countries that have confirmed highly pathogenic H5N1 in wild birds, poultry, and captive birds include:

  • Great Britain;
  • Italy;
  • Germany;
  • The Netherlands;
  • Estonia;
  • Poland;
  • Denmark.
Human infection ‘extremely rare’

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre confirmed that although the HPAI H5N1 subtype can cause “serious” disease in poultry and other birds. However, human infection is “extremely rare”.

Furthermore, no human infections with this virus have been reported in Europe this year.

“Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.”

“Notwithstanding, members of the public are, as always, advised not to handle sick or dead wild birds.”

“It is important to note that there is no evidence of risk associated with consumption of properly cooked poultry products.”

“The department remains in close contact with all industry stakeholders in relation to avian influenza,” the spokesperson concluded.

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