NI authorities investigating suspected bird flu case

Authorities in Northern Ireland are investigating a suspected case of bird flu on a poultry farm in Co. Fermanagh.

In a statement, the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said: “DAERA officials are currently investigating the suspected presence of a notifiable avian disease (NAD) in a broiler breeder flock in Co. Fermanagh.

“A private veterinary practitioner contacted DAERA on January 2, 2020, expressing concerns related to the increased mortality of birds at the holding,” the statement added.

DAERA immediately initiated a veterinary enquiry with a divisional veterinary officer visiting the holding on the evening of January 2, 2020. Restrictions have been served on the farm.

Samples have been taken from the farm and transported to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) for testing.

Testing for avian influenza (commonly known as bird flu) and Newcastle disease is ongoing.

The DAERA statement continued: “DAERA officials have arranged a stakeholder meeting on Monday, January 6, 2020, to provide an update on this investigation and discuss potential next steps whilst results are pending.

“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,” the Northern Irish authority advises.

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.

Farmers and bird keepers in the north are reminded that they can subscribe to a text alert system operated by DAERA for transmitting disease information. Bird keepers in Northern Ireland can subscribe to the service by texting ‘BIRDS’ to 67300.