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Bird flu: Third case confirmed in migrating bird in Ireland

By Margaret Donnelly

A third case of bird flu has been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland, this time in a Whooper swan - a species that migrates to Ireland for the winter months.

It comes just days after the Republic's Department of Agriculture confirmed the second case of avian influenza H5N8 in a wigeon in Co Galway and one in Wexford in December.

No outbreaks have been detected in poultry in Ireland so far.

It is understood that the case was identified in a Whooper swan near Borrisokane, North Tipperary.

After the second case, the Department emphasised the requirement to confine poultry and other birds, and to apply strict bio-security measures to prevent the introduction of avian influenza.

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

The Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the H5N8 subtype can cause serious disease in poultry and other birds, no human infections with this virus have been reported world-wide and therefore risk to humans is considered to be very low.

The public is advised not to handle sick or dead birds. Department staff will continue to collect sufficient birds for testing to help understand how the disease is distributed geographically, in different species and over time.

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