The DAFM has confirmed a “highly pathogenic” avian influenza (HPAI) subtype, H5N1, in a wild bird in Oranmore, Co Galway.
The peregrine falcon was submitted to Limerick Regional Veterinary Laboratory as part of the department’s wild bird AI surveillance programme.
Since mid-October, highly pathogenic H5N1 has been confirmed in wild birds, poultry, and captive birds in:
- Great Britain;
- The Netherlands;
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said:
“We are currently in the high-risk period (October to April) for the introduction of HPAI into Ireland from migratory wild birds returning to overwinter from areas where HPAI is widespread.”
“Wild birds act as main reservoirs of avian influenza viruses,” the spokesperson added.
“The department remains in close contact with industry stakeholders and reiterates that strict bio-security measures are necessary to prevent the introduction of avian influenza into poultry and captive bird flocks.”
“Flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.”
Human infection ‘extremely rare’
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the HPAI H5N1 subtype can cause “serious” disease in poultry and other birds, 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.”
Last night (November 3rd), the Scottish government confirmed the disease in a flock of captive birds.
In a statement, a spokesperson said that to limit the further spread of disease, “appropriate” restrictions were imposed on the premises.
“The remaining birds at the premises will be humanely culled and three-kilometre and 10-kilometre Temporary Control Zones have been set up around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease.”
“Within these zones, a range of different controls are now in place. These include restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure.”
“Public health advice is that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers and that cooked poultry products including eggs are safe to eat.”