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Avian flu found in Ireland for third time in a month after cases in Monaghan and Galway

The risk to humans is considered very low but people are advised not to handle sick or dead wild birds.

File photo
File photo
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

AVIAN FLU HAS been found in Ireland for the third time in the last month, with cases already detected in Monaghan and Galway.

The birds have contracted the H5N1 subtype, which can cause serious disease in poultry, but the risk to humans is currently considered to be very low.

The new outbreak is in an egg-laying flock in the Castleblayney area of Monaghan – the second outbreak detected in Monaghan in recent weeks.

At the start of November, a wild bird in Oranmore in Galway was found to have a case of the virus.

“The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has today confirmed a third outbreak of Avian Influenza H5N1 in commercial poultry, in the Castleblaney area of Co. Monaghan. The most recent outbreak is in an egg laying flock,” the department said in a statement.

It has expanded protection and surveillance zones around the affected flocks to try to prevent the spread of the disease, which puts controls on the movement of poultry and poultry products within the zones.

“Movements into and out of the zones are also subject to licensing. Additional surveillance measures also apply within the restricted zones,” the department said.

“The restriction zone around the most recent outbreak extends into Northern Ireland (NI) and the Department is working closely with colleagues in NI on disease control and risk mitigation measures,” it said.

“The authorities in Northern Ireland 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. Stringent biosecurity, including housing or confinement of birds, is vital to mitigate the risk and protect poultry flocks across the island/country.

“As previously advised, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the 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,” the department said.

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“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.”

Since early October, cases of the influenza have been found in flocks in Italy, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Estonia, Czechia, Norway, Bulgaria, Belgium and the UK.

About the author:

Lauren Boland

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