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Suspected case of AI in Northern Ireland

Poultry farmers in Northern Ireland are on high alert after a potential case of avian influenza was uncovered on a Fermanagh poultry farm.

Tests are ongoing to see if the flock is positive for AI or Newcastle disease.

Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said a private vet expressed concerns over mortality in the flock on 2 January.

Tests are ongoing to determine the cause of the mortality, with results expected in the coming days.

Photo: Broker/Rex/Shutterstock
Photo: Broker/Rex/Shutterstock

Low path avian influenza struck a Suffolk broiler breeder farm in late December, and a high-path variant was recently discovered in a flock of turkeys in Poland.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland government said: “DAERA immediately initiated a veterinary enquiry with a Divisional Veterinary Officer visiting the holding in the evening of 2 January 2020.

“Restrictions have been served on the farm. Samples have been taken and transported to AFBI. Testing for NAD including Avian Influenza (AI) and Newcastle disease (ND) is ongoing.

Biosecurity

“All bird keepers are urged to remain vigilant and if they suspect any signs of the disease in their flocks, they must report it immediately to DAERA. All bird keepers in Northern Ireland are required by law to register with DAERA and a registration form can be downloaded from the DAERA website.

“All poultry keepers, including backyard flock keepers and those keeping game birds and pet birds need to act now and maintain high levels of biosecurity at all times in order to reduce the risk of transmission of avian flu to their flocks.

“DAERA utilises a text alert service for all bird keepers to receive immediate notifications of disease outbreaks or other important disease information. This enables bird keepers to take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity and they can subscribe to this service by simply texting ‘BIRDS’ to 67300.”

Jake Davis