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Avian flu virus found in pheasants in Cork

The birds on the affected premises are being slaughtered today.

Image: KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AP/Press Association Images

SO-CALLED BIRD FLU has been detected in a small number of pheasants in West Cork.

The infected samples were taken from a small flock of some 100 game birds on a premises near Clonakilty.

Announcing the preliminary tests, the Department of Agriculture said that the strain is not the most pathogenic – or disease producing.

Initial tests show it to be the H5 strain and not the more deadly H5N1 strain. Further tests are being carried out to establish the precise strain.

The additional laboratory research will be available within days, said the Department in a statement this afternoon.

As a precautionary measure the birds on the affected land are being slaughtered and all necessary biosecurity measures have been put in place.

A one kilometre avian influenza temporary restriction zone has also been put in place around the premises. In this zone, which is required by EU regulations, additional surveillance is being undertaken by veterinary staff.

The movement of poultry, other birds and their products, as well as other animals on poultry holdings is prohibited.

The Department noted that there are no concerns relating to the consumption of poultry meat or poultry meat productions. There are also no restrictions on poultry movements outside the 1km restriction zone.

Whilst the most highly pathogenic strain of bird flu has been ruled out, the Department has asked people who have been in contact with birds to ensure that appropriate biosecurity measures are in place. Birds should be checked regularly and if an unusually high number of sick or dead birds are noticed, the Regional Veterinary Office should be contacted.

The measures being announced today will be reviewed on the basis of further test results.

More: WHO delays decision on releasing new bird flu research>

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