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Farmers urged to be on the alert after bird flu outbreak

By Caitlin Curley

Published 15/07/2015

Northern Ireland farmers have been advised to be vigilant after a bird flu outbreak in Lancashire. Picture posed
Northern Ireland farmers have been advised to be vigilant after a bird flu outbreak in Lancashire. Picture posed

Northern Ireland farmers have been advised to be vigilant after a bird flu outbreak in Lancashire.

The strain of avian flu is the highly pathogenic H7N7 strain, which can infect people, but experts have said that the risk to public health is very low, while the Food Standards Agency said there is no food safety risk for consumers.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in England established a Protection and Surveillance Zone on Monday, and have suspended the import of poultry products and eggs from Britain. Stormont Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill said the situation is being closely monitored, but that bird keepers should review their own biosecurity as a precaution.

"My staff have been in direct contact with key poultry industry representatives and stakeholders in the north of Ireland to advise them of the situation and to call for increased vigilance," she said.

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