Avian Flu H5N8 Strain Found in Irish Wild Bird as Poultry Moves Indoors

IRELAND - Avian influenza subtype H5N8 has been confirmed in a wild bird in County Wexford, Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine announced on 30 December.
calendar icon 3 January 2017
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The wild duck - a wigeon - was found alive but unable to fly in Wexford Town on 28 December.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported world-wide and therefore risk to humans is considered to be very low.

The finding is not unexpected given the detection of highly pathogenic H5N8 in wild birds in Great Britain in the last two weeks, and comes one week after the Irish authorities put in place new rules requiring the compulsory housing of poultry as a result of the increased threat.

Further tests are being carried out to determine whether the virus is the same highly pathogenic strain that is currently present in Great Britain and mainland Europe. The results of these tests will not be available until the middle of next week.

The Department reiterates that strict bio-security measures are necessary to prevent the introduction of avian influenza into poultry and captive bird flocks. Flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.

The Irish Farmers' Association Poultry Chairman Nigel Renaghan previously welcomed the decision to issue a housing order requiring all poultry and captive birds to be kept within a secure building.

He said: “This is a necessary and practical measure in response to the confirmation of a case of bird flu in Wales... I would urge all flock owners to review their bio-security protocols and ensure all measures are being taken.”

Nigel Renaghan said everybody should work to safeguard the health of our poultry flock and he reassured consumers that farmers would remain vigilant. “There is no risk to humans as avian flu only affects birds.”

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