Belfast Telegraph

Bird flu detected in duck in Co Wexford

A strain of bird flu has been confirmed in a duck in Co Wexford.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said the avian influenza subtype H5N8 was detected in a wild duck in Wexford town.

The bird was found alive but unable to fly on December 28.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with the virus have been reported worldwide.

The risk to humans has therefore been rated as very low.

The department said the detection was not unexpected, as there had been infections of a "highly pathogenic" variant detected in Great Britain in the last two weeks.

Last week Agriculture Minister Michael Creed introduced regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 requiring the compulsory housing of poultry as a result of the increased threat.

Further tests are being carried out to determine whether the virus found in Ireland is the same highly pathogenic strain that is currently present in Great Britain and mainland Europe.

The results of the tests will not be available until the middle of next week.

A department spokesman said: "The Department reiterates that strict bio-security measures are necessary to prevent the introduction of avian influenza into poultry and captive bird flocks.

"Flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office."

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