Bird keepers have been reminded to keep vigilant after avian flu was discovered in a wild greylag goose in Northern Ireland.
The greylag goose, found in Lurgan Park, tested positive for H5N6 Avian Influenza, the same strain found in a wild buzzard in Co Antrim in March this year.
It was reported to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) as part of its dead wild bird surveillance programme.
Chief veterinary officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Robert Huey, said: “This is the second case of H5N6 in a wild bird in Northern Ireland this season and is not unexpected given that avian influenza continues to circulate in wild birds across Europe.
“It further emphasises the requirement for all bird keepers to remain vigilant and to critically review their biosecurity measures, for example, feeding and watering birds under cover to help reduce the risk of their poultry coming in contact with wild birds
“It is important that flock keepers report early any suspicions of disease.
He said the risk to poultry was low.
“However, it is essential that we take the necessary steps to protect our poultry industry, international trade and the wider economy.
“I continue to encourage strongly all bird keepers to register their flocks.
“This will ensure they receive the latest information from the Department and also allow them to be contacted in an avian disease outbreak enabling them to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.”
Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) poultry chairman Martyn Blair encouraged farmers to remain vigilant.
“We strongly recommend that all poultry keepers, including backyard keepers, review their biosecurity measures and familiarise themselves with DAERA’s guidance on good biosecurity.
“If you have any suspicion of disease within your flock you should contact your vet or the local DVO immediately.”
“Advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) is that the risk to public health from the virus is very low.
“The finding is not unexpected given HPAI H5N6 continues to circulate in wild birds across Europe and it is a timely reminder for all bird keepers to be alert.
“I would encourage producers to practise good farm hygiene and keep birds’ food and water in enclosed areas separate from wild birds wherever possible.”
Poultry keepers can also sign up to the Avian Influenza text alert service by texting BIRDS to 67300.