05 Dec 2021

Avian Influenza confirmed in wild birds in Offaly

Avian Influenza confirmed in wild birds in Offaly

People advised not to touch dead wild birds

AVIAN Influenza H5N1 has been identified in wild birds in Offaly and a number of other counties.

Otherwise known as bird flu, counties Galway, Donegal, Kerry and Roscommon have also been affected. 

A turkey flock in Monaghan has also been struck with the highly pathogenic avian flu.

According to the Department of Agriculture. Clinical signs that poultry keepers should look for in their birds include a swollen head, discoloration of neck and throat, loss of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhoea and fewer eggs laid – although these vary between species of bird.

 If owners suspect disease in their own flock, they should notify the nearest Regional Veterinary Office or ring the Avian Influenza Helpline: 076 106 4403 (Outside of Office hours: 1850 200 456).

 If anyone finds dead wild birds such as wild ducks, wild geese, swans, gulls or birds of prey, do not handle the birds. Report the findings to the Department as above.

Poultry flock owners are being advised 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, even if they only have one or two birds.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the HPAI 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. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs are safe to eat.

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.

The Department continues to closely monitor and assess the disease situation and is in regular contact with industry stakeholders.

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