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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 20 December, 2014

Clonakilty bird flu “poses no risk to public health”

The Department of Agriculture said today that bird flu found in pheasants in Clonakilty is not the deadly H5N1 strain. However all biosecurity measures will remain in place in Barryroe, where results are expected on ill pheasants there.

File photo of a pheasant.
File photo of a pheasant.

THE BIRD FLU found in a number of West Cork pheasants does not pose a risk to public health, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has said.

The department announced today that final laboratory test results confirm that the Avian Influenza virus found last week in samples from pheasants in a flock of game birds on a premises near Clonakilty in Cork “are, as expected, a low pathogenic strain of the virus and there is no risk to public health as a result”.

This means it is not the more deadly H5N1 strain, which poses a risk to humans.  Laboratory results from a broiler flock in the same area tested negative for Avian Influenza, indicating that the virus has not spread, the department added.

Further laboratory test results relating to pheasants found in the Barryroe area of West Cork will be available in the coming days.

The birds have been slaughtered as a precautionary measure but the department stated that “all necessary biosecurity measures will remain in place in Barryroe”, while these further test results are awaited. These include the 1km temporary restriction zone.

In this zone, additional surveillance will continue to be undertaken by Department veterinary staff, and the movement of poultry, other birds, and their products and other animals on poultry holdings is prohibited, except under license from the Regional Veterinary Office.

The temporary zone in Clonakilty has now been replaced by a Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza restriction zone of 1km and this will remain in place for at least 21 days after the preliminary cleaning and disinfection of the infected site has been completed.

Full details of the origin of the birds have been established by the Department and it stated today that “further temporary restriction zones will be put in place should this prove necessary”.

The Department reiterated that there is “no concern relating to the consumption of poultry meat or poultry meat products and there are no restrictions on poultry movements outside the 1km restriction zones”.

It added that persons having contact with birds “should nonetheless ensure that appropriate biosecurity measures are in place, as set out in the Department’s guidelines”.

They should check birds regularly and if an unusually high number of sick or dead birds are noticed, they should notify their Regional Veterinary Office.

Read: Tests continue and restrictions remain after avian flu outbreak in Cork>

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