BELFAST, N. Ireland – Officials with the Dept. of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland are urging poultry producers to register their flocks after two wild birds tested positive for H5N6 avian influenza.
Officials confirmed the virus in a wild graylag goose found in County Armagh. The dead bird was submitted for testing at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) as part of Northern Ireland’s surveillance program. In March, a wild buzzard in County Antrim tested positive for the virus. Chief Veterinary Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr. Robert Huey, said the findings aren’t unusual as avian influenza continues to circulate among wild birds. But Huey urged all bird keepers to remain vigilant.
“It further emphasizes the requirement for all bird keepers to remain vigilant and to critically review their biosecurity measures, for example, feeding and watering birds under cover to help reduce the risk of their poultry coming in contact with wild birds,” Huey said in a statement. “It is important that flock keepers report early any suspicions of disease.
“While the risk of an avian influenza incursion in wild birds remains, the risk to poultry is low,” he added. “However, it is essential that we take the necessary steps to protect our poultry industry, international trade and the wider economy.”
Avian influenza is a reportable disease, and anyone who suspects an animal may be infected must report it to their local DAERA Divisional Veterinary Office. Additionally, all poultry and other birds must be registered with DAERA.