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Strain of avian influenza found in free range turkey flock in Co Wicklow

The risk to humans from the H5N8 subtype is considered to be very low.

File photo
File photo
Image: Wikimedia Commons

A SMALL FREE range turkey flock in Co Wicklow has a confirmed infection with a subtype of avian influenza, according to the Department of Agriculture. 

The Department has reported that test results have identified evidence of avian influenza N5N8 in samples from the flock. 

The risk to humans from the H5N8 subtype is considered to be very low.

No human infections with the subtype have been reported worldwide.

However, it can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds.

Further testing to determine the pathogenicity in the flock is being carried out. The Department expected to have results in the coming days. 

The birds in question have been killed and avian influenza restriction zones are being put in place, along with additional protection and surveillance measures.

Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have also been identified in poultry in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Croatia and Ukraine in recent weeks. 

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The Department noted that there is no evidence of risk associated with consumption of poultry meat or poultry meat products. 

Poultry flock owners are being asked 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. 

Members of the public are advised not to handle sick or dead wild birds and to report them to the Regional Veterinary Office or contact the Department disease hotline on 1850 200456. 

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