Second case of Avian Flu detected in Lurgan Park

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A second wild greylag goose, found in Lurgan Park, County Armagh, has tested positive for H5N6 Avian Influenza.

The second goose, like the first, was reported to DAERA as part of its dead wild bird surveillance programme, and was submitted for testing at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), where initial testing has indicated avian influenza, sub-type H5N6.

Given that this was the site used by this year’s Lurgan Show, at which a large selection of poultry breeds was featured, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has confirmed that its representatives met with poultry industry representatives after the first case was detected.

All were advised of the situation and told of the requirement for all bird keepers to remain vigilant and maintain high levels of biosecurity. All bird keepers registered with the DAERA text alert service were contacted by SMS text. In addition, all bird keepers have been encouraged to report any symptoms of disease immediately to their local Divisional Veterinary Office or contact the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840.

The Department is also advising all bird keepers to subscribe to the Avian Influenza text alert service by simply texting ‘BIRDS’ to 67300. This service allows bird keepers to receive immediate notifications of disease outbreaks or other important disease information. This will enable bird keepers to take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.

DAERA says it is continuing to monitor this situation closely and maintains close contact with counterparts in both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland on the matter to ensure that consistent and proportionate measures are taken to prevent further spread of the disease.

Responding to the challenges posed by the latest Avian Flu outbreak, Ulster Farmers’ Union Poultry Chairman Martyn Blair said: “We strongly recommend that all poultry keepers, including backyard keepers, review their biosecurity measures and familiarise themselves with DAERA’s guidance on good biosecurity. If you have any suspicion of disease within your flock you should contact your vet or the local DVO immediately.”

Advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low. The finding is not unexpected given HPAI H5N6 continues to circulate in wild birds across Europe and it is a timely reminder for all bird keepers to be alert.