The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced that it has confirmed avian influenza subtype H5N6 in a wild bird in County Tipperary. The white-tailed sea eagle was found dead on 31 January.
The finding is not unexpected given the detection of highly pathogenic H5N6 in wild birds in multiple locations in Great Britain since the start of January and in other European countries prior to that. Further tests are being carried out to determine whether the virus is the same strain of H5N6. The results of these tests will become available in the next few days.
However the finding does indicate an increased risk of introduction of avian influenza into poultry and captive bird flocks, and that strict bio-security measures are necessary to prevent this. This applies to all flocks, irrespective of size. In particular flock owners should feed and water birds inside or under cover where wild birds cannot access the feed or water. Keep poultry separate from wild birds by putting suitable fencing around the outdoor areas they access.
Flock owners should remain vigilant for any signs of disease in their flocks, and report any disease suspicion to their nearest Department Veterinary Office.