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Avian Influenza Subtype H5N6 Strikes Co. Tipperary

White-tailed Eagle

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today confirmed that a virus identified as avian influenza (subtype H5N6) has been found in a white-tailed sea eagle, found dead in Co. Tipperary, on January 31st last.

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSE-HPSC) and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) have both advised that the risk to public health from this avian influenza strain is very low and that the disease poses no food safety risk for consumers.

However, this finding could warrant an increased risk to poultry and therefore strict bio-security measures, irrespective of actual bird-flock size, are now necessary to further prevent the disease. Poultry owners are advised to feed and water their birds inside and under cover where wild birds are less likely to access.

This find in Co. Tipperary comes as no great surprise; since this virus has already been detected in wild birds in several locations across Great Britain from the start of 2018, and indeed in other more eastern European countries prior to the end of 2017.

Warning: In particular inform your children. If you do find dead or sickly wild birds, e.g. wild ducks, wild geese, swans, gulls or birds of prey, do not handle, but immediately report the findings.

A list of Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine offices and their contact details are available HERE.

The results of further comparative tests on this virus are expected to become available in the coming days.

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