IFA National Poultry Chairman, Nigel Renaghan has called on all stakeholders in the Irish poultry industry to ensure biosecurity measures are stepped up in the wake of confirmed outbreaks of HPAI in the Europe and the UK. He urged all poultry farmers to take protective measures on their farms and to ensure that essential visitors only should be permitted entry.
The Poultry Chairman was speaking in reaction to news of outbreaks of HPAI (High pathogenic Avian Influenza) in the Netherlands and the UK. HPAI was also confirmed in Germany recently. H5N8 was confirmed on Sat 16 Nov in a commercial layer farm with 150,000 birds in Hekendorp, Oudewater, Utrecht.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, has said there is no known food safety risk associated with the strain of the disease confirmed in Germany and the Netherlands. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in its recent assessment (November 2014), there have been no human cases of H5N8.
A 10 km restriction zone is in place and Dutch authorities have confirmed that there are 16 poultry farms are in the zone which is not a high density area for poultry. A national standstill on birds, eggs and manure/litter is in place. The Irish Department of Agriculture Food and The Marine have no reported imports of poultry from NL to the Republic of Ireland recently.
Avian Influenza was confirmed in breeding ducks in Nafferton, East Yorkshire on Sunday, 16th November. A 10 km restriction zone is in place. No poultry has been imported from Yorkshire to the Republic of Ireland.
Defra (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs) confirmed that the outbreak was confined to a duck breeding farm and there is no risk to the food chain. UK authorises have taken immediate action and imposed a 10km restriction zone. All birds on the effected site have been humanely culled to prevent any potential spread of infection. Public Health England has confirmed the risk to public health is extremely low and have ruled out the H5N1 strain that is infectious for humans. The case confirmed on Sunday afternoon has been identified as a H5 avian flu strain and tests are being run to identify the exact strain of the disease. Investigations are now ongoing to discover whether the outbreak is linked to cases found in Netherlands and Germany with further test results expected over the coming days. Defra stated today that the UK has a strong track record of controlling and eliminating previous outbreaks of avian flu and all action will be taken to control this outbreak to prevent a further spread of the disease.
Advice on bio-security is available from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on its website www.agriculture.gov.ie.