Vigilance urged following confirmation of bird flu case

Vigilance is needed following the confirmation of a case of avian influenza (bird flu) in Co. Limerick over the weekend, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Reacting to confirmation by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Saturday (November 7) that a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu was detected in a wild bird in Limerick, IFA president Tim Cullinan urged poultry farmers to be particularly vigilant.

“The announcement was not unexpected given the detection of the disease in the UK last week. I urge poultry farmers to be especially vigilant and to review their biosecurity practices,” he said.

“The IFA participated in a department briefing today [Saturday], and we have updated all of our poultry members reminding them of the measures they should take to protect their flock.

Strict bio-security measures are observed in both egg production and broiler farms in Ireland – but flock owners must be especially vigilant at this time and for the coming winter months.

“The risk is not confined to large-scale commercial production, but also to the many thousands of so-called ‘backyard flocks’.

“All flock owners should feed and water birds inside or under cover to ensure that wild birds cannot access the feed or water,” he said.

He noted that while avian influenza represents a significant threat to the poultry industry, the risk to public health is very low, and the disease poses no food safety risk for consumers.

Cullinan concluded by calling on authorities on both sides of the Irish border to work closely together on monitoring and decision-making relating to this animal disease issue.