Bird Flu confirmed in commercial poultry flock

Chief Veterinary Officer for NI, Mr Robert Huey
Chief Veterinary Officer for NI, Mr Robert Huey

Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Robert Huey has urged local poultry farmers to maintain good biosecurity following the confirmation that Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) of the H5 strain has been found in mid Suffolk.

The strain was found in a flock of broiler breeder chickens at a commercial farm.

Dr Huey commented: “In Northern Ireland the risk to poultry remains low, however Avian flu is a constant threat to all poultry. In the winter months there is always an increasing risk of disease incursion from migrating birds and were it to enter our Northern Ireland flock, it would have a significant impact on our poultry industry, international trade and the wider economy.

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

“All bird keepers are urged to remain vigilant and to alert DAERA if they suspect any signs of the disease in their flocks.”

Public Health advice is that the risk to the public from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency has made it clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. Thoroughly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

A detailed investigation is in progress to determine the most likely source of this outbreak and any potential spread associated with it. DAERA will continue to work closely with colleagues in Defra on this issue.