Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Wild swan tests positive for 'bird flu' in Derry

Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

A wild swan found in County Londonderry near Lough Beg has tested positive for H5N8 avian influenza. 

The swan was reported to DAERA by a member of the public as part of DAERA's Avian dead wild bird surveillance programme, and was submitted for testing at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute where initial testing has indicated avian influenza, sub-type H5N8.  

This finding follows the extension of a Prevention Zone in Northern Ireland until March 16, 2017 which requires all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate and protect them from wild birds.

There have been five cases of avian influenza confirmed in the Republic of Ireland.

The Chief Veterinary Officer, Robert Huey said: “This finding is not unexpected and follows calls for bird keepers to be more vigilant for signs of the disease. It is possible that more cases will be confirmed.

“This finding serves to remind us all of the risk of infection. The Prevention Zone and temporary suspension on gatherings of poultry remain in place. It is also important that bird keepers in Northern Ireland remain vigilant and where necessary improve their biosecurity.

"Even when birds are housed there is still a risk of infection and biosecurity should not be compromised. Clothing and equipment should be disinfected, the movement of poultry should be reduced and contact between poultry and wild birds should be minimised.”

Mr Huey added: “Expert advice remains that consumers should not be concerned about eating eggs or poultry and the threat to public health from the virus is very low.

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“Poultry and other bird keepers are reminded that anyone who has any poultry or any other captive birds must be registered with the Department.”

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