Second case of bird flu confirmed in Ireland this year

Bird flu has been detected in a wild bird in the Republic of Ireland for the second time this year, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed.

A common buzzard in Co. Tipperary tested positive for avian influenza – subtype H5N6.

At the beginning of February, the department announced that the same subtype was found in a white-tailed eagle in the ‘Premier’ county.

The common buzzard was found dead outside Terryglass on land adjacent to Lough Derg.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSE-HPSC) and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) advise that the risk to public health from H5N6 avian influenza is very low and that the disease poses no food safety risk for consumers.

As a precaution, the department advises that only trained people wearing personal protective equipment collect dead or sick birds.

Flock owners and members of the public are not advised to touch dead or sick birds. They are asked to report them immediately to the avian influenza hotline on: 076-1064403 during normal office hours – alternatively a person can contact the hotline on: 1850-200456 outside of those hours.

These detections in Co. Tipperary represent an increased risk of introduction of avian influenza into poultry and captive bird flocks.

Previously, the department has advised that strict bio-security measures are necessary to prevent this. Specific biosecurity advice relating to avian influenza is available on the department’s website.

Flock owners are urged to feed and water birds inside or under cover – where wild birds cannot access the feed or water. It is also advisable to keep poultry separate from wild birds by putting suitable fencing around the outdoor areas they access.

Flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.

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.