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outbreak Flock of turkeys in Monaghan confirmed to be infected with bird flu

Restriction zones have been set up to prevent further spread of the disease

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A flock of Turkeys in Monaghan are confirmed to have contracted Avian Influenza. (Stock photo)

A flock of Turkeys in Monaghan are confirmed to have contracted Avian Influenza. (Stock photo)

A flock of Turkeys in Monaghan are confirmed to have contracted Avian Influenza. (Stock photo)

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have confirmed that Avian Influenza H5N1 (bird flu) has been identified in a flock of turkeys in county Monaghan.

As a result, restriction zones have been set up in the area where additional movement control and surveillance measures will be put in place to monitor the flock and attempt to prevent further spread of the disease.

The highly pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 has already been confirmed in wild birds in a number of counties across the country in recent weeks.

Outbreaks of bird flu have also been identified in poultry flocks across Europe in Italy, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Estonia, Czechia, Norway, Bulgaria, Belgium and the UK since early October.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the department said it is important to note that there is no evidential risk associated with consuming poultry or poultry products.

“The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the H5N1 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported in Europe and therefore risk to humans is considered to be very low.

“Notwithstanding, members of the public are, as always, advised not to handle sick or dead wild birds and to report sick of dead wild birds to the Regional Veterinary Office or contact the Department’s disease hotline on 01 492 8026.”

The Department also said that there is 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.

“Poultry flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, maintain strict biosecurity measures and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Regional Veterinary Office,” the spokesperson continued.

“The Department reinforces the need for vigilance and biosecurity and advises strict adherence to the precautionary measures against avian influenza (bird flu) recently introduced in regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.”

The regulations require bird keepers to implement biosecurity measures to help prevent spread of the virus.

Keepers of all poultry flocks and other captive birds, irrespective of size, are asked to comply with the measures. There are additional enhanced biosecurity measures that must be implements for flocks of 500 or more birds.

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“To further mitigate the risk of spread within the poultry sector, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, has made regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 requiring flock keepers to confine all poultry and captive birds in their possession or under their control in a secure building, to which wild birds or other animals do not have access, and to apply particular biosecurity measures,” the spokesperson explained.

The Regulations, entitled Avian Influenza (Precautionary Confinement of Birds) Regulations 2021, provide for precautionary measures, against avian influenza (bird flu) will come into force on 22nd November.

The Department continues to closely monitor and assess the disease situation and is in regular contact with industry stakeholders and colleagues in Northern Ireland.

Poultry keepers should look out for clinical signs of Avian Influenza such as: a swollen head, discoloration of neck and throat, loss of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhoea and fewer eggs laid.

If you suspect disease among your flock, the Department asks that you notify the nearest Regional Veterinary Office or ring the Avian Influenza Helpline on 01 607 2512 or 01 492 8026.

The public are also asked not to touch dead wild birds, and to instead report the findings to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

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