European bird flu outbreaks ‘shouldn’t worry’ Irish poultry producers

Irish poultry producers shouldn’t be worried about recent outbreaks of bird flu across Europe, according to the Chairman of the IFA’s Poultry Committee Nigel Renaghan.

Renaghan believes that the disease is still far enough away not to cause a credible threat in Ireland.

“If we start seeing outbreaks in Scandinavian countries then we should start getting worried, it will come to the north of England and Scotland before it reaches us,” he said.

However, the Irish poultry sector has one of the strongest bio-security levels in Europe, Reneghan said, meaning the opportunities for the disease to be contracted in commercial flocks will hopefully be minimal.

The first thing I would advise if an outbreak of the disease was likely here would be to house all outdoor and organic birds.

“These are the birds that are most at risk of contracting the disease, but if they are housed it will hugely reduce the chances of them getting the disease,” he said.

A stance of ‘prevention is better than the cure‘ is the way to approach this disease, the Chairman of the IFA Poultry Committee advised.

All we can do is our best, you can never be 100% certain but we have a lot of avoidance measures in place.

Recent Bird Flu outbreaks in Europe

Five new outbreaks of a highly pathogenic avian influenza have been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) across Europe.

A total of 89 birds died as a result of the disease, with outbreaks reported in Croatia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Poland.

The disease was reported in a variety of migratory birds including swans and tufted ducks, the disease hasn’t been detected in a commercial bird flock this week.

On Friday, November 4, an outbreak of the avian influenza of sub-type H5N8 on a turkey fattening farm in Hungary was confirmed.

This outbreak is caused by the same strain of Asian origin detected in a wild bird in the same area the week before, the OIE found.

Measures put in place to prevent the spread of the disease include screening, controlling wildlife reservoirs and zoning.

Commission calling for vigilance following recent outbreaks

The EU Commission is calling for vigilance by Member States’ authorities and the poultry sector in the EU, and for the stepping up of bio-security on poultry farms.

Following confirmation of the bird flu outbreak on the turkey fattening farm in Hungary, the authorities immediately applied control measures as laid down in EU legislation.

This and other outbreaks throughout the EU mark the seasonal circulation of avian influenza viruses, the Commission advised.

The protective measures to respond to the outbreak for the affected areas were reviewed and supported at the meeting of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) on Monday, November 7.