Third case of wild bird flu this year found in Co. Clare

A third wild bird has tested positive for bird flu (H5N6) in Ireland, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Avian influenza subtype H5N6 has been confirmed in a white tailed sea eagle that was found dead on Cribby Island, Mountshannon, Co. Clare, the department has said.

The bird, which was found on March 6, is the third positive wild bird finding in Ireland this year, the department confirmed.

In addition, the strain of H5N6 that was detected in the second wild bird in Ireland on March 6 – identified as a common buzzard – has been confirmed as highly pathogenic, as expected.

HPAI in Europe

Since the last update on March 8, 2018, there has been one outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in a laying hen flock in the province of Brescia in northern Italy.

The situation in Ireland is being kept under constant review.

The advice to flock owners is still to remain vigilant to the threat of avian influenza and take
specific measures to protect their flocks, including minimising access to wild birds by feeding
poultry indoors for example.

Risk to Human Health

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSE-HPSC) and the European Centre for Disease
Control (ECDC) advise that the risk to public health from H5N8 and H5N6 avian influenza is very low.

FSAI (Food Safety Authority of Ireland) has also confirmed that poultry meat is safe to eat – provided
that it is handled hygienically and cooked thoroughly prior to consumption.

However, as a precaution the department advises that only 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 and to report them immediately to the Avian Influenza Hotline at: 076-1064403 (during normal office hours). Alternatively, a person can phone: 1850-200456 outside of normal hours.