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Second Avian Influenza outbreak in NI with 30 birds to be culled in Broughshane


Stock image (Steve Parsons/PA)

Stock image (Steve Parsons/PA)

Stock image (Steve Parsons/PA)

A second suspected case of Avian Influenza in Northern Ireland has been detected in Broughshane, with around 30 birds set to be humanely culled.

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs officials said the second case originated in a small mixed species backyard flock.

They said disease measures have been put in place, including the culling of the affected birds.

Northern Ireland’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Robert Huey said: “Due to the clinical signs and preliminary results provided by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) disease control measures have been put in place in Broughshane, including the humane culling of the affected birds (approximately 30) and the introduction of Temporary Control Zones (TCZ) to mitigate for onward disease spread.”

On Thursday an outbreak of the flu at a commercial duck premises in Co Tyrone has led to around 27,000 ducks having to be culled.

Earlier this week a temporary control zone was established in Northern Ireland following an outbreak of avian flu in Co Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland.

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“Whilst the first suspected case is in a large commercial site, this one has affected a hobby flock keeper, with some of the birds considered family pets – that indicates just how vulnerable our flocks are to incursion, no matter their size,” added Dr Huey.

“There is no doubt this is an extremely difficult and upsetting experience for both flock keepers, and we do not want this to affect anyone else or to have to cull any more birds.

“I am urging commercial keepers of large flocks, as well as those with even just one pet bird, to strictly adhere to the biosecurity measures in place.

“The measures are there to first and foremost protect your flocks, but also to protect your business and to protect you from the devastation of having your flock culled.”

The chief vet said samples of the influenza have been sent to the National Reference Laboratory to confirm pathogenicity of the strain detected.

He added: “Should highly pathogenic AI be confirmed, these TCZs will be revoked and a 3 kilometre Protection Zone and 10 kilometre Surveillance Zone established."

Last month an avian housing order was introduced in Northern Ireland and avian flu was also discovered in two wild birds in Belfast.

New housing measures introduced here on November 29 mean all bird keepers are legally required to keep their flocks indoors or otherwise separate from wild birds.

It applies to owners of pet birds, a hobby flock or commercial flocks.

An AIPZ has been in place across Great Britain since 3 November, with the virus "primarily a disease of birds” and posing a "very low” risk to the public.

In January, a cull of more than 100,000 birds took place following an outbreak of the avian flu in a poultry flock in Clough, Co Down.

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