Northern Ireland

First NI bird flu case of 2018 confirmed

Dead buzzard
Image caption This buzzard is the first wild bird to be diagnosed with H5N6 in 2018

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has confirmed a buzzard found in County Antrim has been diagnosed with bird flu.

This is the first positive wild bird influenza finding in Northern Ireland in 2018.

DAERA says it is continuing to monitor the situation closely

Advice from the Public Health Agency is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low.

Image caption Several wild birds, including a swan, were found to have died from the disease in Northern Ireland

The chief veterinary officer for Northern Ireland, Robert Huey said: "The finding emphasises 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.

"It is important that flock keepers report early any suspicions of disease."

Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease, anyone who suspects an animal may be affected by it must report it to their local Divisional Veterinary Office.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, to the DAERA helpline on 0300 200 7840.

In December 2016, authorities in Northern Ireland put in place an avian influenza prevention zone which was lifted in May 2017.

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